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Volume 118(1) Feb 

30 MAR 2001 

Published bv The Field Naturalists Club of Victoria since 1884 

Naturalist Note 

Australian Edelweiss at Mt Hotham 
But for How Long? 

The Australian Edelweiss Ewartia nubige- 

ua is an elusive creature, in line with its 
more famous and rather larger European 
cousin. It occurs mostly on exposed patches 
of shingle around the 1750 m level or 
above, appearing at first sight like a patch of 
grey moss or lichen, but revealing on closer 
inspection its liny white daisy flowers. 

Within the Ml llolham Alpine Resort, 
which has recently been extended (by exci- 
sion from the Alpine National Park) to 
accommodate new ski runs and facilities, 
there are, or have been, a few places where 
Edelweiss can be seen. On an inspection 
two years ago, the best of these was found 
just a short distance away from the 
Orchard Chair Lift Station, but this eluded 
me on a recent visit over New Year. Does 
it still exist? - I don't know. Another patch 
was previously seen deep down in the val- 
ley of Australia Drift, but could not be 
checked this time. However, the most 
accessible specimens were to be found, on 
this occasion {January 2001), as previous- 
ly, growing right at the very edge o\' the 
4WD track as it climbs from the Orchard 
Chair up to the summit ridge of Ml Loch. I 

gather from Jane Calder that it can be 
found elsewhere, such as on Mt McKay, as 
well as in the Kosciusko National Park at 
high altitude. 

I lowever, my dismay was considerable at 
discovering large drums of high voltage 
power cable laid out at intervals along the 
4WD track, clearly about to be ripped into 
the track by a couple of D9s in tandem or 
whatever. This is evidently intended to be 
an alternative power supply to the Hotham 
Resort, connecting from the Gotcha Chair 
to the Wesl Kiewa Power Station. Il might 
appear to have come about as a result of 
opposition to a route via Dinner Plain to 
Omeo. However, it has the potential to 
make Ewariia very scarce indeed in 
Victoria, and any assurances that the area 
will be restored after the event are clearly 
rather hollow in respect of i Kwxu tin. 

II is a reminder that such things can hap- 
pen very fast and be irreversible, and it is 
my hope that it will not be too late to save 
this unique alpine plant. 

Alan Parkin 

70 Allima Avenue, 
Y;illambio. Victoria 3085. 

Fig. 1. The patch of Australian Edelweiss which was found two years ago near the 
Orchard Chair Laft Station. Mt llolham and could not be found again this year. Mom 
I derweiss patches arc much smaller than this. 



Volume 118(1)2001 



Editor: Merilyn Grey 
Assistant Editors: Alistair Evans and Anne Morton 

Index to Volume 117, 2000 is in the eentre of this issue 

Research Reports The Potential Impact of Freeways on Native Grassland, 

by Nicholas S.G Williams, Emma. J. Leary, Kirsten M. Parris 

and Mark J. McDonnell 4 

Buxton Silver Gum Reserve: Using Geographic Information 
Systems to Investigate Historic Change in Site Integrity, 
by Dianne Simmons, Robyn Adams and Chris Lewis 16 

Contribution Yarrow Achillea millefolium L.: a Weed Threat to the Flora 
of the Australian Alps, by Frances Johnston and 
Catherine M. Pickering 21 

Naturalist Note Australian Edelweiss at Mt Hotham: But for How Long? 

by Alan Parkin 2 

Book Reviews Celebrating Our Parks - Proceedings of the First Australian 
Symposium on Parks History, (Mount Buffalo, 
16-19 April 1998), edited by Fiery Hamilton-Smith, 
reviewed by Deirdre Slattery 25 

Kosciuszko Alpine Flora, Second Edition, by A.B. Costin. 
M Gray, CJ. Totterdell and D.J. Wimbush, reviewed by 
RJ. Fletcher 27 

Pythons of Australia: a Natural History, by Geordie Ton; 
illustrated by Eleanor Ton: reviewed by Nick Clemann 30 

Tribute John Paul Stewart, by Noel Schleiger 29 

ISSN (HM2-5I84 

Cover: The adult leaves of Buxton Gum Eucalyptus crcnulata look like juvenile leaves. 
Ihcse mature leaves are an unusual characteristic of Buxton Gum. See article on p. 16. 
Photo: R. Adams. m 

See our web page: 
email: fncv(5 

Research Reports 

The Potential Impact of Freeways on Native Grassland 

Nicholas S.G. Williams'. Emma J. Leary 1 , Kirsten M. Parris' 
and Mark J. McDonnell 


Transportation planning typically considers only the direct impacts of road construction, such as loss 
of vegetation and wildlife habitat. However, the ecological impacts of major roads and freeways are 
not confined to the area immediately adjacent to the road. Recent international research has demon- 
strated the existence of a 'road effect zone* around major roads and freeways. In Melbourne many 
current and proposed freeways traverse areas of native grassland. This paper presents a review of the 
major ecological impacts of roads and how they may affect native grasslands using the proposed 
Hume Freeway F2 Link as a case study. The road effect zone of the Hume Freeway F2 Link route 
options are quantified and the impacts on the native grasslands of the Merri Creek Valley assessed. 
I The Victorian Naturalist i IR { I ), 2001, 4-15.) 


The past decade has seen many new 
freeways constructed in and around 
Melbourne. The Western Ring Road, City 
Link, Ringwood Bypass, Northern Ring 
Road and Eastern Freeway extension have 
been completed, the Deer Park bypass to 
link the Western Freeway and Western 
Ring Road is under construction and other 
proposed freeways are in the Final planning 
stages. These include the Eastern Ring 
Road (Scoresby Freeway), a further exten- 
sion of the Eastern Freeway through the 
Mullum Mullum Valley to Ringwood and 
the Hume Freeway F2 Link between 
Craigieburn and the Northern Ring Road. 
Most of these projects were subject to 
extensive environmental review through 
impact assessments, planning panel 
reviews and public hearings. Such studies 
tend to examine the direct impact of free- 
way construction on the biota. They typi- 
cally assess the quality of the vegetation 
and occurrence of rare flora and fauna 
species along the proposed freeway align- 
ment. However, recent international 
research has shown that the ecological 
impacts of freeways extend well beyond 
the area destroyed by the road and associ- 
ated construction activities. The aim of this 
paper is to review the ecological impact of 
major roads on native grasslands and to 
discuss the concept of a 'road effect zone* 
using the proposed Hume Freeway F2 
Link as a case study. 

Australian Research Centre for Urban Hcology 
(ARC Uli). Royal Botanic Gardens Melbourne, c/o 
School of Botany, The University of Melbourne 
Victoria 30J0. 

Ecological Impact of Roads 

More than 20 ecological effects of roads 
have been identified by scientists from 
around the world (Forman and Deblinger 
2000). These include the dispersal of partic- 
ulate and chemical pollutants, noise and 
introduced plants and animals (Forman 
1995). Comprehensive reviews of the eco- 
logical effects of roads arc provided by 
Bennett f 1991 ). Forman (1995). Forman and 
Deblinger (1998). Spellerberg (1998) and 
Trombulak and Frissell (2000). Our inten- 
tion here is to briefly discuss some of these 
effects to highlight the diverse range of 
impacts roads can have on the environment. 

Sources of Pollution and Exotic Species 

Vehicle traffic along roads contribute 
numerous chemicals to the environment 
including heavy metals, organic molecules 
(e.g. hydrocarbons), ozone and nutrients. 
De-icing salts are also a problem in colder 
climates (Trombulak and Frissell 2000). 
Water runoff from road surfaces may 
enhance growth of nearby vegetation or 
erode soils from roadsides and stream 
crossings. Most chemical transport occurs 
via stormwater runoff through and over the 
soil and from drainage into nearby water 
bodies. Pollutants may alter soil chemistry, 
be absorbed by plants and affect stream 
ecosystems (Forman and Alexander 1998). 
Roads also facilitate the dispersal of intro- 
duced plants and animals via three mecha- 
nisms: providing habitat by altering the 
natural conditions, making invasion more 
likely by stressing or removing native 
species and allowing easier movement by 
natural and human vectors (Trombulak and 
Frissell 2000). 

The Victorian Naturalist 

Research Reports 

Barrier and Fragmentation Effects 

Format) ( 1995) considers that wide multi- 
lane highways, such as freeways, have the 
greatest ecological effect of all roads, as 
they remove more habitat and create more 
substantial barriers, effectively fragment- 
ing the landscape and habitats they tra- 
verse. Landscape fragmentation with its 
associated loss and modification of habitat 
has been recognised as the greatest threat 
to biological diversity in Australia 
(Biological Diversity Advisory Committee 
1992). Fragmentation not only reduces the 
quantity of habitat available for native 
plants and animals, but also reduces the 
suitability of the habitat that remains. 
Increased isolation of habitat patches may 
impede the movement of animals between 
patches and lead to local extinction of 
species (Haifa et al. 1993), Fragmentation 
increases the ratio of edge to interior habi- 
tat, encouraging invasion by weeds 
(Scougall et al. 1993) and potentially 
increasing predation on birds and mam- 
mals (Andren and Angelstram 1988; 
Burbidge and McKenzie 1989), Habitat 
fragmentation can also affect the reproduc- 
tive success and probability of persistence 
of native plant species, by changing the 
plant's physical environment and its inter- 
actions with pollinators (Cunningham 

Roads contribute to the fragmentation of 
habitat and the disruption of resident popu- 
lations of plants and animals in a number 
of ways. A new road creates a physical 
barrier which splits patches of habitat into 
smaller, disjunct areas. Animals attempting 
to cross the road may be killed by collision 
with vehicles. In general, mortality 
increases with increasing traffic volumes 
I Rosen and Lowe 1994; Fahrig et al. 
1995). The presence of a road may also 
modify an animal's behaviour. Species that 
are sensitive to noise and human distur- 
bance will change their movement patterns 
and home ranges to avoid roads 
(Trombulak and Frissell 2000. and refer- 
ences therein). This avoidance ol' areas 
near roads further reduces the amount of 
habitat that is suitable For sensitive species 
in fragmented landscapes. The impacts of 
habitat fragmentation may be accelerated 
when local extinctions occur in important 
habitat patches as a result of increased 

mortality or a reduced probability of 
recolonisation associated with roads 
(Trombulak and Frissell 2000). 


Research in the Netherlands has shown 
that noise from traffic severely disrupts the 
behaviour of grassland birds, causing them 
to move away from roads and to cease 
breeding. Depending on the species, roads 
with a traffic volume of 50,000 vehicles 
per day disturbed grassland birds up to 
3530 m away (Reijnen et al. 1996; van der 
Zatfde et al 1980). Reijnen et a!. (1996) 
also found that populations of grassland 
birds were reduced by between 12% and 
52% within 500 m of roads with a traffic 
volume of 50,000 vehicles per day. It is 
reasonable to assume that other animals 
will also be displaced by noise and distur- 
bance created by roads. 

The Existence of a Road Effect Zone 

The ecological impacts of a freeway are 
not confined to the area immediately adja- 
cent to the road. Ecologists throughout the 
world now recognise the existence of a 
'road effect /one' (see Conservation 
Biology Vol. 14. No. I, 2000). Forman et 
al. ( 1995) describe a road effect /one as an 
area defined by the ecological effects 
extending from a road into the surrounding 
landscape. It is an area many times wider 
than the road surface and the roadside 
verge (Forman and Deblinger 2000). 

The area impacted by the ecological 
effects of a road varies with the nature o\' 
the effect, quality of existing habitat, 
topography of the landscape and the pre- 
vailing wind direction. The road effect 
/one has convoluted boundaries and is 
highly asymmetric, due to the differential 
influences of environmental flows such as 
wind and water, and variation in habitats 
on opposite sides of the road (Forman and 
Deblinger 2000). Generally, it is larger 
down slope and downwind of the road, and 
in areas of higher quality vegetation or 
habitat (Forman 1999; Forman and 
Alexander 1998; Forman and Deblinger 
1998), At points where a road crosses eco- 
logical conduits, such as streams, the road 
effect /one may extend much further out- 
ward. For example, particulate or heavy 
metal pollution from a road may extend for 

Vol. 118(1)2001 


Research Reports 

many kilometres downstream of a bridge, 
but a much shorter distance upstream or 
into adjacent terrestrial ecosystems 
(Formaa 1999). 

Quantification of a Road Effect Zone: 
The Hume Freeway F2 Link 

The Hume freeway F2 Link, or V2 
Freeway as it is also known, is a freeway 
planned to connect the Hume Freeway at 
Craigicburn to the Northern Ring Road at 
Thomastown. A reservation for the con- 
nection was initially created along the val- 
ley of the Merri Creek, a northern tributary 
of the Yarra River, in 1975. Since then 
studies have shown that the freeway reser- 
vation traverses the 400 ha Craigieburn 
Grasslands and the 70 ha Cooper Street 
Grasslands which are now recognised as 
being of National and Stale significance 
for biodiversity conservation respectively 
(Gibson et al. 1999). The Grasslands pro- 
vide habitat for a number of Nationally and 
State listed endangered species. Significant 
flora include Curly Sedge Cares 
tastnanica. Mat Flax-lily Dianeila amoena 
and Swollen Swamp Wallaby-grass 
Amphihromus pithogastris while the 
endangered fauna include the birds 
Plains-wanderer Pedionomus torqitatus, 
and Swift Parrot Lathamus discolor and 
the Striped Legless Lizard Dclmar impar 
(Muir et al. 1998). Both grasslands have 
also been listed on the Register of the 
National Estate under the Australian 
Heritage Commission Act 1975 (Gibson et 
al. 1999). 

Recognition of the significance of the 
grasslands and presence of endangered 
flora and fauna has led to a number of 
alternative routes being proposed by 
VieRoads (1998). Public submissions on 
these routes were evaluated by an advisory 
committee appointed by the Stale 
Government againsl a defined set of objec- 
tives whose final recommendation (Gibson 
et al. 1999) was VieRoads' route 5 (1998). 
In the process of preparing advice for the 
Minister of Planning, the Department of 
Infrastructure (DOI) reviewed the Planning 
Assessment (VieRoads 1998) and 
Advisory Committee Reports (Gibson et 
al. 1999). The DOI determined that it was 
not happy that any of the seven options 
evaluated by the advisory committee pro- 

vided a 'satisfactory combination of trans- 
port, economic and environmental out- 
comes' and convened a working group that 
developed a further set of route options 
labelled X, Y and Z (Department of 
Infrastructure 2000). 

The Hume Freeway Advisory Committee 
Report (Gibson et al. 1999) stated that 
there was no evidence produced to indicate 
that the potential impact of noise on fauna 
within the grasslands was an issue of any 
real concern (p. 190). This indicates that 
recent research from around the world into 
the ecological impact of roads and the road 
effect zone may not be well known to con- 
sultants, planners and government agen- 
cies. The Working Party report 
(Department of Infrastructure 2000) also 
failed to consider the extent of the road 
effect /.ones on the values oi' grassland in 
the Merri Creek Valley primarily consider- 
ing the direct impacts of freeway construc- 
tion. As a public submission on the 
Working Party report (Department of 
Infrastructure 2000), the Australian 
Research Centre for Urban Ecology con- 
ducted an analysis of the potential road 
effect zone of the existing Hume Highway 
and the proposed routes 5. X, Y and Z. The 
results of this research are presented 


We quantified the area of grassland 
affected by the proposed Hume Freeway 
F2 Link using Geographic Information 
System (GIS) modelling. Maps of the route 
options and areas of native grassland were 
provided by the Merri Creek Management 
Committee. The amount of grassland in the 
road effect zones was calculated for each 
roule option to estimate ihe total habitat 
affected by road noise and pollution. The 
distance used for the zones was based on 
an estimated 35,000-40,000 vehicles per 
day predicted by traffic modelling to use 
the Hume Freeway Link Options I to 5 
(Gibson et al. 1999). The routes used to 
produce these projections have slightly dif- 
ferent alignments to those of the current 
proposal; however, traffic modelling pro- 
jections for routes X, Y„ and Z were not 

Forman and Debiinger (1998) describe 
the calculation of road effect zones based 

The Victorian Naturalist 

Research Reports 

on effect distances from research in the 
Netherlands on noise sensitive grassland 
birds (Rcijnen et al 1996). Formal) and 
Debiinger (1998) used 810 m for 50.000 
vehicles/day in natural ecosystems in 
urban areas. We were unable to obtain 
information on the effect of road noise on 
grassland birds in Australia so we have fol- 
lowed the example of Forman and 
Debiinger (1998) and used data from tem- 
perate grasslands in the Netherlands. 
However, we adopted a conservative 'road 
effect zone' of 750 m for each route option 
due to traffic volumes estimated to be less 
than 50.000 vehicles per day reported in 
the Dutch study. The Hume Ilighway was 
also given a road effect /one of 750 m 
when considered in combination with any 
of the Hume Freeway Link options. The 
road effect /one of an upgraded existing 
Hume Highway was estimated to be 1 km. 
as the projected traffic volume on an 
upgraded Hume llighwav is estimated to 
be 64.000 vehicles per day (Gibson et al. 
1999). The area of the road effect /one 
does not include the added effect of the 
upgrading of the east-west roads in the 
area, such as Cooper Street and 
Craigieburn Road East, to four lanes. This 
would further fragment the landscape and 
reduce the area of core habitat available for 
many species. 

The road effect /one is more complex 
than simply affected and non-affected 
areas. There will be a decline in intensity of 
road effects with increasing distance from 
the road, and the distance and significance 
of the effects will vary depending on the 
organism examined. We used grassland 
birds to illustrate the potential area of 
grassland affected by the Hume freeway 
1-2 Link because they have been shown to 
be sensitive to noise originating from roads. 


Our results indicate the road effect /one 
of all options for the Hume freeway F2 
Link will fragment the grasslands of the 
Merri Creek Valley and reduce the quality 
of grassland habitat. Route Options 5, X. Y 
and Z are presented in fig. 1 . The impact 
of the road effect /ones on the adjacent 
native grasslands is presented in Table 1. 
Upgrading the existing Hume Ilighway 
will have the least impact by placing the 

smallest amount of grassland in the road 
effect /one (151 ha) (Fig. 2) and potential- 
ly impacting only 13% of the existing 
grasslands. This option actually includes 
very little additional grassland in the road 
effect /one that is not already impacted by 
the existing Hume Highway road effect 

Option 5 potentially impacts 461 ha of 
native grassland, most of which is in the 
Craigieburn East Grassland which it 
bisects. Option X would have the greatest 
impact, placing 645 ha of grassland in the 
road effect /one (Fig. 3) and affecting 55% 
of the existing grasslands. It also crosses 
Merri Creek three times, significantly 
increasing the impact of the freeway 
because the road effect /one is wider at 
water crossings (forman 1999). Option Y 
impacts 285 ha of grassland habitat and 
creates a barrier between the Craigieburn 
and Craigieburn Last Grasslands while the 
road effect /one of Option / is 427 ha. 
Option / also crosses Merri Creek in three 
places. The road effect /one of Options X 
and 2 encompass all of the Cooper Street 
and Galada Tamboore Grasslands. Option 
5 and Option Y create road effect /ones 
that completely engulf Galada Tamboore. 
These areas would effectively become 
unsuitable habitat for grassland birds. The 
area of grassland included in the road 
effect /one for each option is dependent on 
the width of the /one. Fig. 4 illustrates the 
area of native grassland remaining unaf- 
fected by road impacts with varying road 
effect /.one width for each option. 


Many of the new and proposed freeways 
to the west and north of Melbourne tra- 
verse areas that contain remnant native 
grassland. Lowland temperate grasslands 
are among the most endangered ecosys- 
tems in Australia (Lunt 1994), and 
Western (Masalt) Plains Grassland which 
occurs in western and northern Melbourne 
is one of the most endangered vegetation 
communities in Victoria (Stuwe 1986; 
Frood and Calder 1987). It is listed as a 
threatened community on Schedule 2 of 
the Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act 198&, 
and is the subject of a Department of 
Natural Resources and Environment 
Action Statement (Muir 1994). 

Vol. 118(1)2001 

Research Reports 

ii 0,5 I 15 2 2 3 


Hume Freeway Link 
■ ,/VabVe i jDtionS 

' ' Grassland i iurne R eew< ?\ i inl 

'"Option \ 

Hume Freeway Link 
Option Y 

Hume Freeway Unl 
Option , " 

Fig. I. I he Hume Highway, and the differed route options for the Hume Freeway F2 Link, Native 
grassland Reserves I. Craigieburn East, 2. Craigieburn, 3. Cooper Street oik) 4. Galada Tamboore. 

Freeway construction has had significant, grasslands. Substantial areas on the north- 
direct impacts on native grassland in the ern boundary of Derrimut Grassland 
Melbourne region, The construction of the Reserve and at the Sunshine Tip 
Western king Road destroyed many native Grasslands that were of State significance 


The Victorian Naturalist 

Research Reports 

Table 1. The potential impact of the proposed Hume Freeway F2 Link on grasslands based on an 
estimated road effect /one of 750 m. 


Area of 
grassland in 
the *road effeel 
zone* (ha) 

% of existing 
grassland habitat 
impacted by 
'road effeel zone' 


Option 5 
Option X 
Option V 

Option Z 

i pgrade of 

Existing Hume 







Craigiehurn East Grassland split in hal 
Galada Tamboore lost 

Largest area of grassland impacted by 
road effeel /one 

Second smallest area of grassland 
impacted by road effect /one. Galada 
Tamboore totally included in road 
effect /one 

Two reserves totally included in 'road 
effect /one' 

Only one reserve impacted by road 
effect /<m^, no grassland lost through 
road construction, no further 
fragmentation of grassland patches 

were removed as were many smaller 
patches along the alignment (Meredith et 
al. 1989). Many of the route options for 
the proposed Hume freeway ¥2 Link will 
cut through native grasslands oi' National 
and Slate significance to flora and fauna, 
including the Craigiehurn and Cooper 
Street Grasslands that are listed on the reg- 
ister of the National Estate (Department of 
Infrastructure 2000; Muir et al. 1998; Muir 
etal 2000). 

tjp to 52 ha of significant native grass- 
land will be removed by the construction 
of the Hume Freeway F2 Link (Muir el al. 
2000). Our analysis has indicated that 
many times this amount may potentially be 
influenced by the indirect impacts of the 
I reeway. The area of native grassland with- 
in the road effeel /one ranges from 
between 285 ha for Route Y to 045 ha for 
Route X. To date, little scientific research 
has been conducted on the indirect impact 
of roads on native grassland in Australia. 
Some studies have identified the expected 
effects of freeway projects on grasslands; 
permanent loss of remnant vegetation, per- 
manent changes to the hydrological regime 
and increased potential for invasion by 
environmental weeds have been listed 
(Department of Infrastructure 2000; 
Meredith ct a\, 1989) but no one has 
sought to quantify them. 

Morgan (I99X) investigated the influence 
of a roadside edge as pari of a larger study 
analysing weed invasion in an urban grass- 

land al Evans Street, Sunbury. Me found 
that vegetation located on the roadside 
edge of the remnant was significantly dif- 
ferent lloristically to vegetation in the cen- 
tre of the reserve as well as the remnant 
edge bordering a railway line. Introduced 
plant species richness was significantly 
higher and richness and cover of native 
species was significantly lower al the rem- 
nant edge bordering the roadside than at all 
locations within the remnant. Soil nutrient 
analysis revealed that non-native species 
were favoured by higher concentrations of 
phosphorous and ammonium which were 
higher on the roadside edge of the rem- 
nant. Nitrate was also found to favour non- 
native species but was not found to be cor- 
related with the roadside edge. Increased 
soil phosphorous and weed invasion did 
not extend beyond 10 m from the road 
edge into the grassland. 

Higher nutrient concentrations and 
changes in plant species composition along 
the roadside edge at Lvans Street 
Grassland cannot be solely attributed to the 
presence of a road as other influences such 
as nutrient input from dogs and occasional 
garden waste dumping may also be impor- 
tant (John Morgan pen. comm.). However, 
some contribution from traffic should be 
expected as vehicle emissions, such as car- 
bon dioxide, sulphur dioxide and oxides o\' 
nitrogen, are known to act as fertilisers or 
affect plani growth (Angold 1997). Angold 
(1997) found that trends in the species 

Vol. 118(1)2001 

Research Reports 

I] 5 1 1.5 2 2^ 

I M 


I 1 Wat/ve Grassland f~~"| p ^ £fifect Zone 

Hume Freeway 

m;,'/ Lpttons 

Native Grassland Within 
Road Effect Zone 

Pig. 2. Upgraded Hume Highway, with a 1 kilometre road effect /one. Affected ureas of native 
grassland are shown with diagonal lines. Native grassland Reserves - I. Craigiefnirn East, 2. 
( Iraigiebum, }. Cooper Street and 4. Galada Tamboore. 

composition and enhanced growth o\' correlated with distance from the road and 
heathland vegetation, adjacent to a four that the effect extended up to 200 m each 
lane highway in Britain, were significantly side of the highway. This was attributed to 


The Victorian Naturalist 

Research Reports 

5 1 15 2 25 

] Native Grassland \ \ Road Effect Zone 

/.t.' A fjptions 

Native Grassland Within 
Road Effect Zone 

Fig. 3. Existing Hume Highway and Hume Freeway F2 Link Option X, with 750 metre road effect 
/one. Affected areas oJ native grassland are shown with diagonal lines. Native grassland Reserves - 
I . Craigieburn East, 2. ( raigieburn, 3. Cooper Street and 4. Galada Tamboore. 

eutrophicalion from oxides of nitrogen grasslands bordering freeways in Australia, 
emitted by vehicle exhausts. Similar Grasslands in the Melbourne region pro- 
effects and distances could be expected for vide important habitat for populations o\' 

Vol. 118(1)2001 


Research Reports 





w 600 




*= 400 




Option 5 

— - Option X 

- - - Option Z 





no road 







Width of road effects zone (m) 

Fig. 4. The area of native grassland not impaeled by the road effect zone with varying width of the 
road effect zone for each Hume Freeway F2 Link option. 

many resident and migratory bird species. 
There are at least 20 grassland bird species 
recorded in the Melbourne area that are 
considered to be of conservation concern 
on either a regional, State or National level 
(Table 2) (Beardsell 1991; Beardsell 1997; 

Department of Natural Resources and 
Environment 2000). These include the 
nationally endangered Plains-wanderer 
Pedionomus torquatus and the Red-chest- 
ed Button-quail Turnix pyrrhothorax 
which is listed as vulnerable in Victoria. 

Table 2. Grassland bird species 
(T), vulnerable (V) or endanger 
Significance ratings have been 
Resources and Environment Vic 

considered to be restricted (Res), rare (R), depleted (D>, threatened 
ed (E) for the Melbourne Region, Victoria and on a National level, 
obtained from Beardsell (1991; 1997) and Department of Natural 

Scientific Name 

Common Name 

Region State 


Accipiter cirrhocephalus 

Calamanthus fuliginosus 
Cinclorhamphus matkewsi 
Circus assimilis 
Coturnix etu&tralia 
Falco peregrinus 
Haliastur sphenurus 
Hieraaeius morphnoides 
Lathamus discolor 
Merops ornatus 
Milvus migrans 
Ocyphaps lophotes 
Pedionomus torquatus 
Poephila guttata 
Stagonoplcura guttta 
Turnix pyrrhothorax 
Turnix varia 
Turnix vclox 

Collared Sparrowhawk Res 

Striated Fieldwren D 

Rufous Songlark D 

Spotted Harrier D 

Brown Quail Res 

Peregrine Falcon Res 

Whistling Kite D 

Little Eagle Res 

Swift Parrot E 

Rainbow Bee-eater D 

Black Kite T 

Crested Pigeon R 

Plains-wanderer E 

Zebra Finch D 

Diamond Firelail D 

Red-chested Button-quail E 

Painted Button-quail Res 

Little Button-Quail T 


The Victorian Naturalist 

Research Reports 

A large body of Australian and interna- 
tional research has demonstrated that many 
birds that breed in grasslands require large 
habitat patches (Vickerv el ah 1994; 
Herkert 1994; Baker-Gab'b el al 199(1). 
Patches shaped to provide abundant interi- 
or areas, free from the impact of edges. 
have also been shown to maximise bird 
species richness. For example Red-chested 
Button-quail require patches of suitable 
habitat larger than 50 ha (Beardsell 1997). 
while areas Favoured by the Plains-wander- 
er are approximately 200 ha (Bakcr-Gabb 
et al 1990), Experts suggest that the con- 
servation of the Plains-wanderer in north- 
east Melbourne will require the retention 
and management o{ the remaining patches 
of grassland. In addition, they recommend 
the linking of suitable native grassland 
habitat (Beardsell 1997). Given the ecolog- 
ical requirements of the species it is evi- 
dent that a reserve supporting viable popu- 
lations must be large (Beardsell 1997). 

Freeways may also hinder or prevent the 
appropriate management of native grass- 
lands. Western Basalt Plains Grassland 
requires burning at intervals not greater 
than 3 years to maintain native plant diver- 
sity and vigour (Lunt 1994; Morgan and 
Lunt 1999). However, it is difficult to 
achieve this aim U)r grasslands bordered 
by freeways as smoke may be a hazard to 
motorists. Bainbridge and Bush (2000) 
describe the complexity of conducting pre- 
scribed burns in urban areas while Lunt 
(1994) has identified the cultural, opera- 
tional and financial difficulties of burning 
grasslands for conservation purposes. For 
Parks Victoria to burn the Laverton North 
Grassland Reserve wind must blow smoke 
away from a neighbouring petrochemical 
industrial plant and over the Princes 
Freeway. Consequently, burns must take 
place at night and require the employment 
of a traffic management group to close the 
freeway down to one lane that travels at 60 
km h. This dramatically limits the window 
of opportunity available to burn the reserve 
and as a result bums may be delayed until 
the following year (Fiona Smith. Parks 
Victoria Ranger in Charge. Melbourne 
Grasslands, pers, comtn. ). 


Roads have both direct and indirect 
impacts on the environments they traverse. 

Apart from the direct removal of biota and 
the reduction and fragmentation of adja- 
cent habitats, all roads contribute pollution, 
noise and exotic organisms to the sur- 
rounding ecosystem in a zone Of variable 
width either side of the road. The existence 
of a road effect zone suggests that rescrv es 
may not fully protect the biological values 
of natural ecosystems if those reserves are 
in close proximity to freeways. This may 
be particularly true for native grasslands 
that require regular, active management 
and provide habitat for organisms suscepti- 
ble to noise and other impacts of roads. 

The two largest protected areas o\' native 
grassland in Melbourne, the Derrimut 
Grassland Reserve and the Laverton North 
Grassland Reserve, are both bordered by 
freeways. It is also proposed that the newly 
proclaimed Craigiebum Grasslands Flora 
and Fauna Reserve will be bordered by the 
Hume Freeway F2 Link to some degree. 
The road effect zone of the proposed route 
options for the Hume Freeway F2 Link 
would result in significant areas of the 
grasslands of the Merri Greek Valley being 
affected by noise, increased nutrients and 
other impacts of the freeway. This will fur- 
ther fragment the grasslands o\' the Merri 
Creek Valley and substantially reduce the 
area of suitable habitat available for grass- 
land birds. In the past the indirect impacts 
of roads, highlighted by the road effect 
zone, have not been considered in the 
transportation planning process. Successful 
management and mitigation of all the envi- 
ronmental impacts of road projects dictates 
that the road effect zone should be consid- 
ered. To facilitate this there is a need for 
research to quantify the nature and extent 
of the impacts of roads and freeways on 
Australian ecosystems. 


This research was funded by the Baker 
Foundation. We thank ihe Merri Creek 
Management Committee tor supplying a CIS 
layer of the proposed Hume Freeway F2 Link 
mules. Au anonym OU 9 reviewer provided useful 
comments thai improved Ihe manuscript. This 
paper is a product of the Australian Research 
Centre tor Urban Ecology, Royal Botanic 
Gardens Melbourne. 


Andren, H. and Angelstam, P. (WSK). Elevated preda- 
lion fates as an edge effect in habitat islands: experi- 
mental evidence Ecology t9, 544-547. 

Vol. 118(1)2001 


Research Reports 

Augoid, P.G (1997). I'hc impact oi h road upon adja- 
cent hetfhland vegetation eBeeis on planl species 
couiposihou. Journal of Ippltctd Rcahgy 14, 409- 

Hainbhdge. IT and Bush, J. 12000). Riparian revegeta- 
tion in ihc urban environment the Merri ( rent expe- 
rience. /» •Directions in Rc\ egetation and 
Regeneration in Victoria', pp. 19-24. Ed* MJ. 

McDonnell und N.S.C. Williams. (Royal Botanic 
(.aniens Melbourne: (irceumg Australia. Heidelberg. 

Victoria.), D..K, lienshemesh. J.S and Mahei\ P.N. 
1 1990). A revision of the distribution, status and 
managemeni of the Plains-wanderer {I'ctiionoinns 
li'rqiiiUiis) Emu 90, 161-168 

Ueardscll, C f!991 ), Sites of fauna] significance in the 
WesUm region of Melbourne (inland ol the Princes 
freeway), Arthur Kvlab institute tor Em ironmcnLil 
Research. Technical Repori Scries No. 91. 

Bcaidscll, C. 0997). Sites ol faupal and babital signifi- 
cance in north CQSI Melbourne, Dunmooilun 
BiOlOgJCfl] Surveys, Melbourne. (Unpublished Report 
lot the North fast Regional Organisation of Councils 
(Nl R(K /).) 

Bennett, AT. (1991), Roads, roadsides and wildlife 
conservation: a review. In "Nature Conservation 2: 
The Role of Corridors', pp. 99-HR. Eds DA 
Saunders and R..I. Hobbs. (Surry Bealiy & Sons; 
(hipping Norton. NSW.) 

Biological Diversity Advisory Committee (1992}. A 
National Strategy ibi the Conservation oi Ausiralia's 
Biological Diversity Draft. May 1992, DASI I. 

Buihidge. A A and Mcken/ie, N.L ( 1989). Patterns in 
i lit- modem decline of Western Australia's vertebrate 
fauna: causes and conservation implications, 
Hwluglcah otwWtitfQn 50, 143-198. 

Cunningham, S A. (2000). Effects ol babiial Iraguien- 
laliou on the reproductive ecology qf lour plant 
species in inallee woodland, Conservation Biology 
14, 758-768. 

Department of Infrastructure (2000). Hume Freewav 
I 2 I ink Craigiebum to Metropolitan King Road 
Review of route options ami environmental mea- 
sures. (Department of Infrastructure; Melbourne.) 

Department oi Natural Resources and Environment 
Victoria (2GQ0), Ibrcatened Vertebrate Fauna in 
Victoria 2000: A systematic list of vcrtebrale launa 
considered cMinel, al risk of extinction or in major 
decline in Victoria. (Depailiuenl of Natural 
Resources and Environment: Easl Melbourne.) 

filling. I . Pedlar, .1.11., Pope. SI, lavlor. P.O. and 
\\ i gner, J.F, ( 1995). I ffeel of road trafiie on amphib- 
ian density. Biological < onscrvaiion 73, J77-I82. 

IVuiiKin, R.I I . (1995). 'Land Mosaics: I lie ecology of 
landscapes and regions'. (Camhridge University 
Press: ( anibridge ) 

I onuan. KIT. (1999). Horizontal processes, loads. 
suburbs, societal objectives, and hmdseape ecology. 
In 'Landscape ecological analysis: Issues and appli- 
cations', pp. 35-53. Ids .l,M, klopalek and KM 
Gardner, (Springer-Ycrlag: New York.) 

Ionium. R.T.I . and Alexander, LI' ( 1998). Roads and 
their major ecological effects, Animal Review "I 
Ecology and SwitematU s 29, 207-531. 

I orawn. R.l-T- and Deblmger. K,l>, (1998). I he eco- 
logical road-effect /one lor transportation planning 
and a Massachusetts Highway example In 
"Proceedings Of the International Conference on 
Wildhle I colony and transportation', pp. 75-96, I ids 
(i,l_. I\ ink. P. Garrett, D /eigier. and J, Berry 
(Florida Department of Transportation; I altahassec, 

I onuan. K.I.I . and Debhnger, R,D OHIO) Hie eco- 

logical road-el'leel /one of a Massachusetts (USA) 
suburban highway. Conservation Ufolog) 14, $6-46. 

I onuan K.'l ,T„ I riedman, D.S.. Fit/henrv. I) . Martin, 
.I.D.. (hen. AS. and Alexander, L I (1*95). 
Ecological effects of roads: loward three summary 
indices and an overview for Noith America. In 
"Habitel Fragmentation and Infrastructure', pp. 40- 
54. Ed. K Canters. (Ministry of Transport, Public 
Works and Water Management: Maastricht and I he 
Hague. Netherlands.) 

1'rood, I), and (.aider, M < I9S7). Nature Conservation 
in Victoria. Stud) Report Vols I and 2. (Vietoniin 
National Parks Association: Melbourne.) 

Gibson, II . Love, J. and Sutherland, (i. ( 1999), Hume 
I reeway Kelocalion of Hume Freeway between 
Craigiebum and Metropolitan Ring Road. Advisory 
Committee Report. Melbourne. 

Ilaila. Y., Saunders. D.A. and Hobbs, R.l. (1993). 
What do we presently understand about ecosystem 
fragmentation? hi 'Reconstruction of fragmented 
Ecosystems Nature Conservation _v. pp, 45-55. Eds: 
DA. Saunders. R,l. Hobbs aud PR. fhrlieb. (Surrey 
iieatlv and Sons: Chipping Norton.) 

llcl/er.C.T. and Jelinski, D.f. (1999). The relative 
importance of patch area and penmctet area ratio to 
grassland breeding birds. kcohgical Application 9, 

lleikert. JR. (1994) The effects of habitat fragmenta- 
tion on mid-western grassland biid communities. 
Ecological Applications 4 T 46 1 -47 1, 

Lunl, I.I), (1994), Variation in flower production ol 
nine grassland species with time since liie, and 
implications for grassland management and restora- 
tion Pacific Conservation ftfofogi 1,359-366. 

Meredith. C Black, IT. Can, (i., lonkinson. D, and 
I odd. J. ( 1989). Biological study of the proposed 
route for the Metropolitan King Road "lullamarine to 
I a\ertou North. Miosis Research Ply. I. id.. Port 
Melbourne, Unpublished Report for VicKoaiLs. 

Morgan. J.W. (1998). Patterns of invasion of an urban 
remnant of a species-rich grassland in southeastern 
Australia by non-naiive plant species. Journal oj 
Vegetarian Science**, 181-190. 

Morgan, I.W., and Lunl, I.D. (1999). Lffects ol time 
sincc-lne on the lussock dynamics ol a dominant 
grass (Tkemeaa triandra) in a temperate Australian 
grassland. Biological Consttnwtion 88, 379 386, 

Mutr, A.M. I 1994). Action Statement No 53. Western 
(Basall) Plains (irassland Community. {Department 
of Natural Resources and Environment: Melbounie.) 

Muii. A.M , Col I in Son, M.I I., Lane. B.A., ( Jrseheg, 
C.K.. Robertson, P . Can, (i.W and MeMahon. 
A.R.ti. (1998). Hume Freeway Maboneys Road to 
Craigiebum detailed flora and fauna investigation of 
route options, Ecology Australia Ply. fid., Fairfield, 
Victoria, Unpublished Report for Vic Roads, 

Muir. A.M.. Way. SI. and MeMahon, ARC. (2000). 
Hume 1 Tfcvwiv Maboneys Road to Craigiebum 
Supplementary Flora and fauna Investigation: Route 
Options \. Y. / and 5. Bcology Australia, 
Melbourne Unpublished Report for VicRcntds. 

Reipten. R.. loppen. R. and Meeuwsen, II. (14%). I'he 
effects ol" traffic on the density <>\ breeding birds in 
Dutch agricultural grasslands-. Biolagii 
Const rviUion 75. 255-260. 

Rosen. P.C and Lowe, C.W. (1994). Highway morlably 
ol snakes m the Sonoran desert o I sou I hem Arizona. 
Biological Conservation 68, 143 I4S. 

ScoUgalL S.A., Majer, L\). and Hobbs. R.J. (1993) 
l.ilge effects in grazed and ungra/ed Western 
Australian wbeatbell remnants in relation 10 CCOSys 
teni rcconsiiuciion. In 'Nature Conservaliou 3: 
Reconstruction of Fragmented I eosvsieuis', pp. 163- 
178 I ds D. V Saunders, K J. Hobbs and PR. I brlieh 


The Victorian Naturalist 

Research Reports 

(Surro> Beatty and Sons: Chipping Norton.) van der Zande, A.N., ter Kers. W..I., and van der 

SpcllcrlxM'u. LF. ( W l )N). Ecological effects ofroads and Weijden, W.J. i 1980). I he impact o( roads on the 

traffic: a literature re\ tew. Global Ecology and densities of lour bird species m an open field habitat 

Bhgeography Letters 7> 317-333. evidence of a Ion-distance effect, Biological 

Siuwe. J. (1986). An Assessment o| the Conservation Conservation 18,299-321 

Si. tins of Native Grasslands- on the Western Plains. Vicken. I'D.. Hunter, M.I . Jr.. and Melun. S.M 

Victoria, and sues of Significance, vthur K>lah |IW). Effects of habilai area on the distribution of 

Institute lor Environments] Research lechnieal grassland birds in Maine. Conservation Biolog] s 

Report Series No. 48. (Department of Conservation, I0X7-HW 7 . 

Forests and Lands, Victoria.) VicRoads (1998). Hume Freeway Metropolitan Rinu 

Iromhuiak. S.C., and I rissell. C.A. 12000). Keucw ol Road to t'raigichurn Planning' Assessment Report. 

ecological effects ofroads on terrestrial and aquatic (VieRoads: Melbourne.) 

communiiicv Conservation Blolagy 14. 18-33, 

Kditor's note: An interesting general article on the 'road effect zone' (RE2) appeared in New 

Scientist, 3 February 2001 . Christie Asehuanden, in 'Tread Softly* on pp. 32-36. describes the theo- 
i'\ o\' REZs and how disruption to the en\ ironnienl bv road networks can he lessened. 

One Hundred Years Ago 

k A report of the dredging excursion on Saturday. 15th December, was rend by the 
leader. Mr. J. Gabriel, who said that the Club was indebted to Mr. C.J. Cottell lor the 
use of the yacht Starlight on the occasion. A start was made from the North Brighton 
pier at about 2.30 p.m., eleven members being present. The afternoon proved a very 
pleasant one, but, owing to the light wind, results were scarce!) SO good as had been 
expeeted. as time did not permit of the boat reaching the most favourable collecting 
grounds. Two dredges were employed, and a fair number of Mollusca. Crustaceans, 
and other forms of marine life were obtained. Amongst the shells found the most 
notable were Mcrctria lamarcki and Cardita gttnnii, which were dredged, living, in 
fair quantities off Brighton Beach Of the higher Crustaceans obtained Eballa 
(Phlyxia) intermedia, Miers, and Hymenosoma rostratum, llaswell, arc worthy ai~ 
mention, as these forms are not included amongst our common littoral species.' 

EXCURSION To Franks ion 

'Striking across the recreation ground towards Mt. Eliza the whole country was 
found to be a perfect flower garden, in which Leptospermum scoparium and 
Ricinocarpm pinifolius were conspicuous by their dazzling white flowers, while 
Melaleuca Squarrosa scented the air with its rich honey-like perfume. A few insects of 
the commoner kinds were obtained by shaking. Crossing over some low-lying ground 
towards the cemetery the pretty Utricularia dichotomic Candollea calcaratum^ 
Comesperma erlcinum, and other plants were seen at their best. Many years ago the 
beautiful pink orchid Spiranthes australis was to be found in this locality, but 
improvements have resulted in its disappearance. The singular plant Drosera b'mata 
grows here-abouts. along with that curious fern Schizea fistulosa. PolypOfflphofyx 
tenella, Sebaea albidiflora x Drosera pygmaea, and D. gtanduligera grew in abundance 
wherever there was permanent moisture. A few buprestid beetles, of which 
Sirjjnodcra maculaia and ,S'. \anthipilo\a were the most common, were taken, while 
some half-dead leaves of a eucalyptus, shaken into the umbrella, yielded several speci- 
mens of the pretty longicorn. Ectosticta ciero'olcs. The little green beetle 
Diphucephala rugosa was very plentiful on the scrub. Very few orchitis were seen. 
but the little plant Comcpscrma calymega reminded us that summer was rapidly 

From The Victorian Naturalist Vol. XVII - No. 10, February 7, 1901 

Vol. 118(1)2001 15 

Research Reports 

Buxton Silver Gum Reserve: 

Using Geographic Information Systems to Investigate Historic 

Change in Site Integrity 

Dianne Simmons', Robyn Adams' and Chris Lewis' 


Eucalyptus crenuiata is a rare species known from only two populations. The Buxton Silver Oum 
Reserve was set aside in 1978 for the conservation of the species, but this objective may be compro- 
mised by changes in the integrity of the landscape immediately surrounding the Reserve. A time 
sequence of aerial photos and Geographic Information Systems technology has been used to identify 
patterns of landscape change, and aid in determining appropriate management strategies to minimize 
negative impacts caused by landscape fragmentation and habitat exposure. (The Victorian Naturalist 118 
(1K200I. 16-20.) 


Buxton Gum Eucalyptus crenuiata 
Blakely & Beuz. is a rare and distinctive 
species with glaucous, crenulate heart- 
shaped leaves (see photo front cover). 
Eucalyptus crenuiata is regarded as 
Vulnerable in Victoria (Gullan et al. 1990) 
and Vulnerable in Australia (Briggs and 
Leigh 1988). Eucalyptus crenuiata is a 
relict species, having had a more extensive 
distribution in long-past wetter and colder 
periods. It is now found at only two sites in 
Victoria (Pryor 1981), and the suggestion 
that the species distribution has contracted 
in historic times due to European distur- 
bance (Pryor 1981; Albrecht 1983: Jelinek 
1991) is largely speculation. Due to the 
species' habitat specificity, it is more like- 
ly that at the time of European settlement, 
it existed as only two populations in two 
rare, isolated habitats embedded in a 
matrix of other native vegetation. 

The species is confined to a specific and 
uncommon habitat (Pryor 1981; Prober 
and Austin 1990), and the habitat peculiar- 
ity of the two extant sites may be indicated 
by other rare species still found growing in 
association with E. crenuiata. At the 
Yering site the rare Pomaderris vacciwifo- 
Via and Pimelea pauci/lora are also present 
{MeMahon et al. 1989), and there are a 
number of restricted species such as 
Sphagnum cristata and Gymnoschoenus 
sphaerocephalus al Buxton (Jelinek 1993). 
The site at Buxton may now represent a 
rare community rather than just a site with 
a single rare species. 

1 School Of Ecology and Environment, Deakin 
University, 662 Blackburn Road, Clayton. Victoria 3 1 68. 

The Yering site (145° 2TE, 37° 4TS) 
adjacent to the Yarra River, has been 
cleared for well over a century and the 
hydrology has been extensively modified. 
Only a few trees of E. crenuiata remain 
although there are a large number of 
hybrids (Simmons 1970; Jelinek 1991). 
Intensive management of this site is 
required if the natural population is to be 
restored and conserved. In contrast, the site 
at Buxton (145° 41'E, 37° 27'S). reserved 
in 1978 when the Buxton Silver Gum 
Reserve was established (Jelinek 1991), 
has a different landscape context, and 
potentially a very different management 
requirement. The site appears to be rela- 
tively intact, with few weeds, an uncom- 
mon combination of understorey species, 
and it contains a healthy E. crenuiata pop- 
ulation of approximately 600 adult trees 
(Adams and Simmons 2000). 

Eucalyptus crenuiata is easily propagat- 
ed, and as a species it is not threatened 
with extinction. Past hybridization between 
E. crenuiata and E. ovata at Yering has 
resulted in few trees which produce 
seedlings clearly assignable to E. 
crenuiata, and which lack evidence of 
hybrization (Simmons 1970; Simmons and 
Parsons 1976; C. Fletcher 2000 pers. 
cotmn.). Conservation of the site at Buxton 
is particularly important as a seed source 
as the genetic resources of the species are 
still intact. 

The Buxton population of E. crenuiata is 
in an apparently secure Reserve. However, 
the viability of species and populations in 
reserves is affected by their landscape con- 


The Victorian Naturalist 

The Victorian 

Index to 

Volume 117,2000 
Compiled by K. N. Bell 


Eastern Dwarf Tree frog, recent Victorian 
introduction?, 60 

Giant Banjo Froe, in northern Victoria, 

Limnodynastes interioris, in northern 
Victoria, 226 

Litora fallax, recent Victorian introduc- 
tion?, 60 

Australian Natural History Medallion 

Medallionist 2000, Malcolm Calder, 164 
Trust Fund, 155 


Adams, R., 36, 110 

Adams, R. Tunbridge, A. and Simmons, 

Adams, R.. Parker, D. and Lunt, I., 93 
Akers, D. and Bender, R., 107 
Appleby, ML. and McDougall, K.L., 52 
Bender, R. and Akers, D., 107 
Bigger, S.W., Saville, T.A., Nugegoda, 

D. and Scarpaci, C. 4 
Brewster, E., Thompson, B. and Lester, 

D., 157 (Tribute) 
Calder. M., 194 (book review) 
Cavanagh. T., 31, 1 14 (book review) 
Christidis, L. and Norman, J. A.. 219 
Clarke, R., 1 18 (book review) 
Clemann, N., 180 

Clemann, N. and Gillespie, G.R., 60 
Clemann, N. and Saddlier, S., 184 
Colin, H.M., 191 (book review) 
Conole. L. and Mac Natty, R., 226 
Coulson, G., Martin, A. A. and Martin, 

J.K., 140 
Dean. J. C, 141 
Diez, S., 38 (book review) 
Doery, M.K.. 77 (Tribute) 
Eichler, J. 66 
Endersby, L, 164 
Faithful!, L, 68, III 
Ford, S. and Gibson, M., 172 
Foster, E., 122 (book review) 
Garth, K., 206, 227 
Gibbens, J., 124 
Gibson, M. and Ford, S., 172 
Gibson, M. and Sinclair, B., 166 
Gillbank. L., 1 12 (book review) 
Gillespie, G.R. and Clemann, N., 60 
Gilmore, D., 82 (book review) 
Green, K., 214 

Grey, M., 2, 1 16 (book reviews) 
Roman, P., 75 
Houghton, S„ 130 

Flubregtse, V., 156 (book review) 
Lester, D., Thompson, B. and Brewster, 

E., 157 (Tribute) 
Loos, T., 188 

Lumsden, L., 117 (book review) 
Lunt, I.D. and Parker, D., 207 
Lunt, I., Parker, D. and Adams, R., 93 
McNabb, E., Willig, R. and McNabb, J., 

McNabb, J., McNabb, E. and Willig. R., 

Mac Nally, R. and Conole, L., 226 
McDougall, K..L. and Appleby. M.L.. 52 
McGee, T.K. and Miller, K.K., 200 
Mahler, D. and Schleiger, N., 14 
Maroske, S, a 79 (book review) 
Martin, A. A., Martin, J.K. and Coulson, 

G., 140 
Martin, J.K., Coulson, G. and Martin, 

A.A., 140 
Miller, K.K. and McGee. T.K., 200 
Morgan, J.W., 50 
Morton, A., 193 (book review) 
Norman, J. A. and Christidis, L., 219 
Nugegoda, D., Scarpaci, C, Bigger, S.W. 

and Saville, T., 4 
O'Neill, P., 154 (book review) 
Parker, D. and Lunt, T.D., 207 
Parker. D., Adams, R. and Lunt, L, 93 
Pearce, J., 84 
Peter, J. M.. 63 

Romanowski, N., 162 (book review) 
Saddlier, S. and Clemann, N., 184 
Saville, T., Nugegoda, D., Scarpaci, C. 

and Bigger, S.W. ,4 
Scarpaci, C, Bigger, S.W., Saville, T. 

and Nugegoda, D., 4 
Schleiger, N., 76, 190 (book review) 
Schleiger, N. and Mahler, D., 14 
Seebeck.J., 229 
Simmons, D. Adams, R. and Tunbridge, 

A., 44 
Sinclair, B. and Gibson, M., 166 
Thies,A.W., 10 
Thompson, B., Lester, D. and Brewster, 

E., 157 (Tribute) 
Tunbridge, A., Simmons, D. and Adams. 

Vafiadis, P., 228 
Wainer, J.W. and Yen, A.L., 131 
Wallis.R., 42 (Tribute) 
Wark, M.C., 96 
Weste, G., 187 

Willig, R., McNabb. E. and McNabb, J., 150 
Yen, A. L. and Wainer, J.W. , 131 


Acridotkeres tristis, excluding from nest- 
boxes. 75 

Acridoiheres tristis, using letter boxes, 

Birds and boxlhom, 63 

Common Myna. excluding from nest 
boxes. 75 

Common Myna, using letter boxes, 76 

Helmeted Honeyeater, use of Mountain 
Swamp Gum. 84 

Lichenostomus melanops cassidix, use of 
Mountain Swamp Gum. 84 

Book Reviews 

'Australian Rushes: Biology, Identification 

and Conservation of Reslionaceae and 

allied families', Eds K.A. Meney and 

J.S. Pate. (N. Romanowski). 162 
'Exploring Central Australia: Society, the 

Environment and the 1894 Horn 

Expedition". Eds S.R. Morion and DJ. 

Mulvaney. (H.M. Cohn). 191 
'Feral Future". T. Low. (S. Maroske), 79 
'Field Guide to the Birds (if Australia*. 

sixth edition. K. Simpson. N. Day and 

P. Trusler. ( R.Clarke). 1 IS 
'Flora of Australia, vol. I; Introduction'. 

Second edition. (L. Gillbank). 1 12 
'Flora of Australia, vol. 17B, Proteaceae 3. 

I taken to Dryandrd 1 . (T. Cavanagh). I 14 
'Flora of the Nathalia District and 

Barm ah Forest', The Nathalia 

Wildflower Group. (M. Grey), 1 16 
'Grassland flora: a Field Guide for the 

Southern Tablelands (NSW & ACT)". 

D. Eddy, D. Mallinson, R. Rehwinkel 

and S. Sharp. (S, Die/). 38 
'Grassland Plants of South-eastern 

Australia 1 , N. and J. Marriott. (S. 

Die/). J8 
"Plains Wandering: Exploring the Grassy 

Plains of South-eastern Australia". I. 

Lunt, T. Barlow and J. Ross. (S. Die/). 

'Rock of Ages: Human Use and Natural 

History of Australian Granites', E 

Bayly. (N. Schfeiger), 190 
•Sea Snakes: Australian Natural Historv 

Scries*. IF HeaUvole. (P. O'Neill), 154 
\Sherbrooke Forest: its Flora and 

History*, Friends of Sherbrooke Forest 

Inc. (A. Morion). 193 
'The Bat: Wings in the Night Sky", M.B. 

I enton. (L. Eumsden). 1 17 

"The Koala: Natural History, Conser- 
vation and Management', R. Martin 
and K. Handasyde. (D. Gilmore), 82 

'The Orchids of Tasmania', D. Jones, H. 
Wapstra. P. Tonelli and S. Harris. (E. 
Foster), 122 

'WildGuide: Plants & Animals of the 
Australian Alps". B. Cameron-Smith. 
{V. Hubregtse). 156 

'Wild Places oi' Greater Melbourne". R. 
Taylor. (M. Grey), 2 

'William Dampier in New Holland - 
Australia's First Natural Historian 1 . 
A.S. George. (M. Calder). 194 


Anglesea vegetation regeneration project, 

Bcmks'uu recent literature, 31 
Bladderwort, new Victorian record. 66 
Boxthorn and birds. 63 
Caiiitris glaucophylla, Jacksons Creek, 

107, 110 
( 'allitm glaucophylla, Maribvrnoug, 36 
Caiiitris spp. Terrick-Terrick National 

Park, 93. 207 
Cypress Pines, Jacksons Creek. 107, 1 10 
Cypress Pines, Maribymong. 36 
Cypress Pines. Terrick-Terrick National 

Park, 93, 207 
Dicksania aniarctica, lichens oi\ 172 
Eucalyptus camphora A use as habitat by 

Helmeted Honeyeater, 84 
Eucafytpus-Callitris woodlands, Terrick- 

Terrick National Park, 207 
Hieraeium auranth ////?, naturalized 

alpine species, 50 
Ironbark forest, ant and termites in, 124 
Lichens of Soft Treefern, 172 
Lyciumferocissimum and birds. 63 
Mosses in Melbourne Herbarium from 

Lord Howe Island, 10 
Mountain Swamp Gum, use as habitat by 

Helmeted Honeyealer, 84 
Native spp., germination effects of Sweet 

Pittosporum, 44 
Orange Hawkweed, naturalized alpine 

species, SO 
Pittosporum undulatum, allelopathic 

effects on native spp., 44 
Plant invasions. North-east Victorian 

highlands, 52 
Soft Treefern, lichens of, 172 
Sweet Pittosporum, allelopathic effects 

on native spp., 44 

Utriculaha gtbba, new Victorian record, 

White Cypress Pine, Jackons Creek, 36, 

107, 110 
Wijkia extennatcu sexuality in wet 

Victorian forests, 166 


Ant and termite changes in Ironbark 

Forests, 124 
Butterfly fauna, Paps Scenic Reserve, 

Coleoptera addendum. Lake Mountain, 

Termite and ant changes in Ironbark 

forest, 124 


Values and knowledge of members, 200 


Ernest Perkins OAM, 67 
Malcolm Calder, Australian Natural 
History Medallion, 164 


Macroinvertebrates, Yarra River, on ero- 

sional substrates, 141 
Octopus kaurna, at San Remo, 228 
Shell studies. Edwards Point, 14 
Yarra River, macroinvertebrates, 

erosional substrates, 141 


Anglesea, vegetation regeneration pro- 
ject, 96 
Boronia, presence of Swamp Skink, 180 
Edwards Point, shell studies, 14 
Fitzroy Gardens, Water Rats in, 188, 206 
Gunbower Island State Forest, Giant 

Banjo Frog, 226 
Jacksons Creek, White Cypress 

Pines. 107. 110 
Lake Mountain, coleoptera addendum, 

Lord Howe Island, moss collections in 

Melbourne Herbarium, 10 
Mansfield, Paps Scenic Reserve, butter- 
flies, 131 
Maribyrnong, Callitvis glaucophylku 36 
Mornington Peninsula, new Bladderwort 

locality, 66 
Mullundung State Forest, Yellow-bellied 

Glider at, 150 
Ovens flood plain, Giant Banjo Frog, 226 
Paps Scenic Reserve, Mansfield, butter- 
flies, 131 

Port Phillip Bay, Bottlenosed Dolphin, 4 
St. Leonards, shell studies. 14 
San Remo, Octopus kaurna, 228 
South Gippsland, Yellow-bellied glider, 

Terrick-Terrick National Park, Cypress 

Pines, 93, 207 
Yarra River, macroinvertebrates, 141 
Yellingbo State Nature Reserve., habitat 

use of Mountain Swamp Gum, 84 


Bottlenosed Dolphin in Port Phillip Bay, 4 
Hvdromvs chrvsogaster in Fitzroy 

"Gardens, 188,206 
Kangaroo death, 140 
Nest hollows, sharing, 227 
Petaurus australis in South Gippsland, 

Platypus, paddle with, 187 
Snow surface activity, small mammals, 

Tursiops tnmcatus in Port Phillip Bay, 4 
Water Rats in Fitzroy Gardens, 188. 206 
Water Rats, general information on, 229 
Yellow-bellied Glider in South 

Gippsland, 150 


Anglesea, vegetation regeneration pro- 
ject, 96 
Author guidelines, 234 
DNA in Natural History studies, 219 
Fifty years ago, 13 

Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act, 95, 232 
One Hundred years ago 106, 153, 183, 213 
Origin of Easter Bilby Macrotis lagotis, 68 
What are we eating?, 130 


Austrelaps ramsayh ritual combat, 1 84 
Egernia coventryi, east of Melbourne, 

Elliott traps, failure in skink survey, 180 
Highland Copperhead, ritual combat, 184 
Ritual combat in Highland Copperhead, 

Swamp Skink, east of Melbourne. 180 


KenHamer(R. Wallis), 42 

Ellen Lyndon OAM (E. Brewster, B. 

Thompson and D. Lester), 157 
Elizabeth Kathleen Turner (M. Doery), 


Research Reports 

text, and by activities adjacent to the site. 
The isolation of fragments caused by land 
clearance often leads indirectly to habitat 
degradation due to the changed physical 
circumstances of the remnant (Saunders et 
al. 1991; Mclntyre and Hobbs 1999). Thus 
reservation of significant habitat alone may 
not be sufficient to provide future protec- 
tion for a species. 

The interpretation of aerial photos can 
provide a history of landscape change 
(Hobbs et al 1992). and mapping of land- 
scape at different times can provide a good 
indication of landscape fragmentation and 
change (Worth 1996), and clarify fragmen- 
tation processes and their potential impacts 
on species conservation (Zheng et al, 
1997). Geographic Information Systems 
(CIS) are a useful tool for monitoring 
changes identified in aerial photos, as they 
allow display at a range of scales, with the 
capacity to magnify areas of interest such 
as boundaries, and to readily calculate 
indices of landscape pattern and fragmen- 
tation (Simpson et al. 1994; Mast et al. 
1997; Bruce et al. 1998) such as core areas 
or perimeter to area ratios. 

Understanding the historic landscape 
context of a remnant, in this case the 
Buxton Silver Gum Reserve, can aid in 
determining the type of conservation man- 
agement suitable for a particular remnant in 
a particular landscape context (Mclntyre 
and Hobbs 1999). This study identified 
changes in land cover adjacent to the 
Buxton Silver Gum Reserve using historic 
aerial photos and Geographic Information 
Systems (GIS) technology, and used the 
pattern of landscape change detected to 
suggest appropriate management strategies. 


Land cover mapping was carried out 
using tinrectificd black and white aerial 
photos. Sequential aerial photos were 
obtained for 1952, I960, 1971 and 1987 
(with nominal scales approximately 
1:14,000). No more recent photographs of 
suitable scale are available. All pho- 
tographs were digitized, georeferenced 
using GcoSmartimageK software, and then 
imported into ArcView 3.2'< GIS software 
(ESR1 1996). Land cover classes were 
interpreted and digitized by a single opera- 
tor for an area covering approximately 

200 ha (one aerial photograph) immediate- 
ly surrounding the Buxton Silver Gum 
Reserve. Vegetation was mapped as 'tree 
cover* versus 'no tree cover' as further dis- 
tinctions between different vegetation 
types could not be reliably assessed (Mast 
et al. 1997). The present distribution of E. 
crenulata was also mapped from aerial 
photos and ground survey. 


Land cover maps showing the areas with 
tree cover no tree cover and the present 
distribution ofi?. crenulata were produced 
(Fig. 1 ) and clearly indicate the loss of tree 
cover, and the increasing isolation of E. 
crenulata habitat over 35 years. In 1952 
and I960 tree cover was almost continu- 
ous, covering most (90%) of the study 
area, and surrounding most of the /.. 
crenulata habitat. By 1987, less than half 
the study area had tree cover (45%) (Pig. 
2a). and visual inspection of the area sug- 
gests that the land cover in 2000 is little 
altered from the 1987 situation. 

The length of the perimeter bounding the 
/:'. crenulata site and the adjacent cleared 
areas also increased from only 150 m in 
1952 to 575 m by 1987 (Pig. 2b), 

Significant fragmentation of the treed 
area has occurred, increasing from one 
treed area (90%) and one cleared area 
(10%) in 1952 to seven fragments by 1987 
(big. 1). Five of these fragments are less 
than 1 ha in area. The remaining two 'frag- 
ments' are actually part o\' larger areas ol' 
forest which continue beyond the arbitrary 
boundary of the study area; the larger of 
these surrounds the site on the northern 
and western perimeter, and the other is 
approximately 800 m to the east. Nine 
trees have been isolated in a small frag- 
ment on private land on the northern edge 
of the Reserve, btit no reduction in area or 
decrease in tree cover of the actual /:'. 
crenulata population within the Reserve 
was detected. 


Habitat destruction is the loss of structur- 
al and Iloristic features of the original veg- 
etation (Mclntyre and Hobbs 1999), and 
can be expressed simply by differentiating 
between those areas with tree cover and 
those areas with no tree cover. The historic 

Vol. 118(1)2001 


Research Reports 

^% f : s- 




1 -J 1952 


i;iiii Meters 

Fig. I. Changes in land cover category from tree cover to no tree cover for the area surrounding the 
Buxton Silver (ium Reserve, between 1952 and l l )87. 

sequence o\' land cover maps showed no 
detectable reduction in the area occupied 
by E, crenulata. 

However, for the area surrounding the 
Buxton Silver Gum Reserve they clearly 
indicate loss of tree cover, significant frag- 
mentation of the original treed area, and 
increasing isolation of E. cremdata habitat. 
Mclntyre and Hobbs (1999) suggest that 
the threshold for a shift to a 'fragmented" 
landscape occurs when habitat retention 
(tree cover) is less than 60%. In the area 
immediately surrounding /:'. crenulata. 

retention of tree cover is now much less 
(45%) than this threshold. Many ecosys- 
tem processes can be disrupted when habi- 
tat becomes isolated and the remaining 
fragments are embedded in a matrix of 
cleared land (Saunders et at. 1991). 
Among the potential threats to the internal 
integrity o\ E. crenulata habitat, are fungal 
attack {Pkythophthora cinnamomi has 
been delected in soil in the Reserve). 
Coarse Dodder-laurel Cassytha melantha 
infestation (41% of trees are infested), 
weed invasion, and lack oi" recruitment. 


The Victorian Naturalist 

Research Reports 

(a) _ 



Qno tree cover 
Itree cover 

1952 1960 1971 1987 

(b) f 700 






Fig. 2. Changes in (a) the proportion of the study area covered by trees (% of 200 ha) and (h) bound- 
ary perimeter (m) exposed to adjacent cleared areas, between 1952 and 1987. 

There are about 600 adult trees at the site, 
but few seedlings of £". cremtlata are pre- 
sent and the population is skewed to small- 
er size classes with few large trees (Adams 
and Simmons 2000). 

Although there has been a large increase 
in the length of perimeter of the E, cremt- 
lata habitat exposed to cleared areas, about 
60% of the site perimeter is still adjacent 
to treed areas. However, the simple binary 
division between tree cover and no tree 
cover may underestimate the disturbances 
impacting on the Reserve (Mclntyre and 
Hobbs 1999). Adjacent areas of habitat 

mapped as tree cover may have been signif- 
icantly modified. Some of the adjacent large 
areas of forest have been logged, and the 
Buxton Silver Gum Reserve now forms part 
of a variegated landscape (Mclntyre and 
Hobbs 1999) comprising treed areas with 
various degrees of modification through to 
completely cleared areas. The degree of 
exposure of the Buxton Silver Gum Reserve 
may greatly increase the likelihood of nega- 
tive impacts on the ecological functioning 
of the E. cremtlata population. 

From a management perspective, using 
aerial photos and GIS capabilities to 

Vol. 118(1)2001 


Research Reports 

examine the Landscape changes in the area 
surrounding the Buxton Silver Gum 
Reserve, has allowed the identification of a 
trend towards increasing isolation and 
exposure of the site to the physical 
changes, such as wind and light regimes, 
associated with fragmentation (Saunders et 
ah 1991 ). While investigation of the ecolo- 
gy of £ crenulatu continues (Adams and 
Simmons 2000), one immediate and poten- 
tially highly effective management action 
is to decrease the exposure of the site by 
restoring a vegetated buffer to reduce the 
abrupt boundary interlace between the /:' 
itvtw/ata population and the cleared areas. 
However, most clearing has occurred on 
private land and the opportunities to 
reduce isolation of the Buxton Silver Gum 
Reserve are limited without participation 
and involvement of adjacent landholders. 

I ike /-.". crriiiflttfa. a number of other 
Eucalyptus species are known to be 
restricted to unique habitats (Prober and 
Austin IWO). However, reservation of the 
habitat alone may not be sufficient to pro- 
vide protection for a rare community or a 
rare species because of potential climatic 
changes (Prober and Austin l l )90) or 
changes to the landscape context and land- 
use adjacent to the habitat (Saunders ct al. 
1991; Mclntyre and llobbs 1999). Race 
habitat may need to be surrounded by a 
matrix of other vegetation in order to be 
buffered from the altered physical process- 
es which accompany fragmentation 
(Saunders cf til. 1991)- Even common 
species can become threatened by the 
accumulation over time oi' small, individ- 
ual changes to landscape integrity (Worth 
1996). Eucalyptus erenulatd at the Buxton 
Silver Gum Reserve provides an example 
of the how the use of aerial photography 
and GIS technology can be combined to 
identify fragmentation processes and their 
potential impacts, and aid in suggesting 
appropriate management strategies for the 
conservation of other restricted species. 


Admits. R. and Simmons. I). (20110). Survival, health 
ami recruitment aj Eucalyptus crcnuiata (Buxton 
Gum). Unpublished report lor Threatened Species 
Network and Department of Natural Resources and 
Environment Alexandra. Victoria, 

Albrechl, I) < I0S3) Land I lac (.use Study; fSucatypM 

crcutiiatii. Y cring. Unpublished report to Bunitcy 

Agricultural College* Victoria. 

lin^s. .11). and I elgh, I. II. (J9S8). Rare 01 
Threatened Australian Plants. Special Publication 

No. 14- Australian National Parks and Wildlife 
Service, Canberra. 
Bruce, CJM, Lawrence, R.I:, and Connelly, I*. (-1998). 
Vegetation regeneration in a small catchment on the 

Bogong High I'lains. Victoria, I'roccediugs of the 
Royal Society of Victoria I II. xxili-xxviii. 

ESRJ Knvironmenlal System? Research Institute 
(1996), 'AreView (ilS I he Geographic Information 
System Tor l-'veryone\ Hnvironmenlal Systems 
Research Inslilulc, Redlands. 

(iullan, I'.K.. (heal. D. and Walsh. N. (1WU). 'Rare or 
Ihrcntcned Plants in Victoria". (I)eparlmcnt ci\ 
{ onservatiofl and Environment: Melbourne.) 

flobbB, K-.l ., Saunders, I). A.. Lohry dc Bruyn, LA and 
Mam, A.R. (1992). Changes in* biota, hi 
'RcitUtigruling fragmented Landscapes. Towards 
Sustainable production and Nature Conservation', 
pp. 65-106. tds R..L Hobhs and D.A- Saunders. 
(Springer: New York.) 

Jehnek, A. (1W|). Buxflau (ium Eucalyptus trctnilata. 
Action Statement No, I. (Department of Conservation 
and Environment; Melbourne.) 

Jehnek. A. 0^93). Conservation o\~ Eucalyptus <rctw- 
lata: Pre and Post Fire Monitoring. (Deparlnient of 
Conservation and Natural Resources: Victoria.) 

Melnlyrc. S. and llobbs, R, (199$), A framework for 
conceptualizing human effects on landscapes and its 
relevance to management and research models. 
Conservation Biology 13. 1282-1292. 

Mast. .I.N.. Veblen. I . I . and I lodgson. Mb, ( I W}. I rec 
invasion within a pine/grassland eeolone: an approach 
with historic aerial photography and (jIS modeling. 
/■'arcs! Ei ■alogy and Management 93, I X I - 1 94. 

McMahon. A.M.G., Frood, I).. Bedggood, S.b. and 
Carr, (J.W. (1989). A Review of the Sites of 
Botanical Significance in the Upper Yarra Valley and 
Dandelion g Ranges Region. Volume 1. Technical 
Report No 26 Upper Yarra Valley and Dandcnong 
Ranges Authority, Melbourne. 

Prober, S,M. and Austin. M P.{l99Q). Habitat peculiar- 
ity as a cause of rarity in Eucalyptus palifornus. 
Australian Journal of 'Ecology 16,1 89-205. 

I'ryor, I., I), (1981). Australian Em/angered Species: 
i'.uctilypis Special Publication No. 5, Australian 
National Parks and Wildlife Service, Canberra. 

Saunders. D A . llobbs. R.J. and Margules. C'.R 
(t99iy. Biological ciHisequences of ecosystem frag- 
menlalion: a review. Conseryation Biology 5, I&-32, 

Simmons. I). ( 1970). Analysis of the possible conlnbu- 
lion of/;', crcnuhihi, /■'. ramphora and /*," oyata to a 
hybrid swarm. (B.Sc. (Honours) lliesis. Department 
oltiotany, la Irobe Universily. Australia.) 

Simmons. I), and Parsons. R.F. 0976), Analysis of a 
hybrid swarm involving Eucalyptus erenulata and 
KoVttta using leaf Oils and morphology, Hio<licnucai 
Systematica ami Ecology 4, 97-101'. 

Simpson. J.W., Hoerner, R.l-J., DeMcrs, M.N., Herns. 
LA.. Arligus, I..I. and Silva, A. (1994). Forty-eight 
years of landscape change on Iwo continuous Ohio 
"landscapes. Landscape Ecology*), 261-270. 

Worm, G,D. (1996), Estimations Ol Koala habilat loss 
on the lilligery Peninsular NSW, [954-1992, 
Australian Geographical Studies 34, 214-223, 

Zheng. I")., Walliii. D.O. and llao, /. (1997), Rales and 
patterns of landscape change helwccn 1972 and 1988 
in the Changbai Mountain area ol China and North 
Korea Landscape Ecolog}- 12. 241-254. 


The Victorian Naturalist 


Yarrow Achillea millefolium L.: a Weed Threat to the 
Flora of the Australian Alps 

Frances Johnston 1 and Catherine M. Pickering 1 


Yarrow (Milfoil) Achillea millefolium L. is a potential threat to the native subalpine and alpine plant 
communities of the Australian Alps. Although Yarrow has been found in Kosciuszko National Park 
for the last 50 years, it has extensively colonised subalpine disturbed habitats, including roadways, 
during the last decade. Currently, isolated plants can be found in adjacent native vegetation, and a 
few plants have been found and removed from areas as high as 20(H) m along the summit of the main 
range. Research is currently being conducted on the biology and control of this 'most hardy weed ... 
well named for the invulnerable Achilles' (Georgia 1942). (The Victorian Naturalist 118(1). 2001.21-24.) 

Yarrow Achillea millefolium L. (Asleraceae), is a drought tolerant perennial herb with 
rhi/omatous vegetative growth (fig. 1 ). It is native to Europe and Western Asia (Zhang 
el al. 1996). Aromatic pinnalely dissected leaves are produced in a basal rosette and 
along the flowering stem. Both stems and leaves arc covered with short, white, silky 
hairs. The flower heads are arranged in a corymbifonn inflorescence, each head consist- 
ing of around 5 ray flowers (usually while, pink or magenta) and 20-25 disk flowers. 
Flowers are self-incompatible with an extended flowering period from spring to autumn. 
Aehenes, produced in large numbers, are oblong, 1.5-2.0 mm long, and grey-white in 
colour (Rydberg 1916; Chandler el al 1982; Warwick and Black 1982). 

Yarrow grows throughout south-eastern 
Australia where it is often cultivated as a 
popular garden plant and lawn substitute 
(Thorton-Wood 1999). Although often 
sold in nurseries, it is regarded as an envi- 
ronmental weed in the Australian Capital 
Territory. New South Wales and Victoria 
(Anon 1998; Sainty et al. 1998; 
McDougall and Appleby 2000) 

Throughout the Australian Alps. Yarrow 
«rows alone roadsides and around build- 
ings (Costin 1954; McDougall 1982; 
Mallen-Cooper 1990; Saneeki 1999. Figs 2 
and 3). Although recorded as early as 1949 
in grasslands in the subalpine /one of 
Kosciuszko National Park (NSW Soil 
Conservation Herbarium database), popu- 
lations of Yarrow appear to have increased 
rapidly in Kosciuszko National Park dur- 
ing the 1990s (R. Knutson, NSW National 
Parks and Wildlife Service. />tv.v comm,\ 
Saneeki 1999). The increase in Yarrow is 
possibly associated with the use of gravel 
from weed-contaminated dumps in the 
construction of roads and other infrastruc- 
ture (R. Knutson. NSW National Parks and 

i ooperative Research Centre lor Sustainable 
rcmrism, and School of Environmental and Applied 
Griffith University PMl* 5Q, Gold ( m&I 
Mail ( entre. Queensland 9 

Wildlife Service, per*, comm.). Recent sur- 
veys found Yarrow in all four /ones 
(alpine, subalpine, montane and tableland) 
of Kosciuszko National Park, predomi- 
nantly in highly disturbed sites. Potentially 
of most concern are isolated Yarrow plants 
that have recently (since 1998) been found 
in the alpine area along the old Summit 
Road and the Main Range walking track, 
as well as around Seamans Hul in the true 
alpine /one. 

Where populations of Yarrow occur ou 
road embankments, roadside drains and 
other disturbed sites (fig. 4), our surveys 
indicate that isolated plants are often found 
in the adjacent native vegetation (Table 1 ). 
This indicates that Yarrow has the poten- 
tial to spread from disturbed areas into 
native vegetation. 

Achillea millefolium is potentially a seri- 
ous threat to the vegetation communities o\' 
the high altitude areas of the Australian 
Alps. It has broad environmental tolerance, 
including a capacity to thrive on a range of 
soil types, and in a range of climates {from 
arid to alpine; Clausen et al. 1958; Bourdot 
1984). It is a common weed in many tem- 
perate countries including most of North 
America, Canada, Russia, temperate 
Europe, New Zealand and Australia 
(Clausen etaf. 1958; Bourdot 1984). When 

Vol. 118(1)2001 


( 'ontfibution 

\'\£. I. Inflorescence and leaves of Yarrow Achillea millefolium. A. LateraJ coryrabiform inflores- 
cence and cauline leaves, H. Individual head. ('. Terminal branched corymbs. D. Leaflet E. Cauline 
leal. Modified from Stanley and Ross (1983, A), and Hardin (1992, B-E). 

Mt Gingera 

Mt Buffalo 

Yarrow population • 

M 1500-2000m 
[~1 1000- 1500m 
State border 

Mt Buller 

'•-lyit Kosciuszko 


Mt Hotham Alpine Resort 

Fig, 2. Populations Of Yarrow in the Australian Alps. Areas above I OOO <■ 

Locations Irom Mallen-Cooper (1990), Sanecki (1999), McDougall and Appleby (2000) and prese 

study. Map modified from Green ( 1994). 

1500 m marked, 

allowed to spread unchecked in the forests 
o\' Siberia, it forms an uiuierslorey mono* 
culture (Banks, Australian National 
University, Canberra, pern, comm, 1999), 
A series of attributes, including high seed 

production, rapid seedling growth, long- 
term seed dormancy, rhi/omalous growth 
and Strong competitive ability, contribute 
to Yarrow's invasive potential in high alti- 
tude areas (Menkens et at. 1992), Yarrow 


The Victorian Naturalist 


Table 1. Recorded occurrences of Yi 

irrow plants 

in native vegetation 

near populations growing 

along roadsides in Kosciuszko Nationa 

1 Park. 




Distance to 

Vegetation type 



road (m) 

Geehi River Bridge 

36°1 7\ 148ns 1 



Subalpine grassland 

Dicky Cooper Creek 

36°15\ 148°21' 



Tall alpine hcrbfield 

Orange Hul 

36°16\ 148^23" 



Subalpine grassland 

Valentines Hut 

36°16\ 148°23' 



Subalpine open woodland 

Shlinks Pass 

36 tf 15\ I48°25 s 

1 800 


Subalpine heath 

Guthega Power 

Station Gate 

36°20\ 14S"25' 



Subalpine open woodland 

Perisher Pass 

W24\ I4S"25" 


3, 8, 22, 28, 39 

Subalpine grassland 

Smiggins Hole 

Sewage Ponds 

36°23\ 14S"26" 



Subalpine grassland 

Seamans Hut 

36°28\ I48°16* 


Tall alpine herbfield 

Twynam Ridge 

36°35\ I48"20" 


Tall alpine herbfield 

Daners Gap 

36"22\ 148°28 ' 



Subalpine grassland 

shows limited wind dispersal witb most 
seed found within a few metres of the plant 
(Bourdot et at, 1979). However, contami- 
nation of gravel and mulch appear to have 
assisted its dispersal in Australia and over- 
seas (Bourdot and Field l c )88; R. Knutson 
\SW National Parks and Wildlife Service 
pers, comm.). Yarrow also has many of the 
characteristics of other rhizomatous weeds 
including bud dormancy, strong apical 
dominance broken by disturbance, and 
rapid vegetative propagule formation on 
fragmentation (Bourdot 19X4); characteris- 
tics that facilitate the growth and spread of 
the plants in new habitats. 

Studies in New Zealand on methods to 
control Yarrow indicate that both different 
herbicides (bromacil. terbacil, clopyralid. 
chlorsulfuron, phenoxy. tria/ine, urea, 
dinitroaniline. bena/olin, benta/one and 
oxvfluorfen) and other control measures 

have limited success (Bourdot et at 1 c >82; 
Bourdot and Butler 1985; Field and 
Jayaweera 1985; Bourdot and Field 1988). 
Preliminary results from chemical trials on 
Brush-off (7 g/100 L). Banvel/Arnieide 
(500 ml/100 L), Glyphosphate (1000 
mL/100 L and Grazon (500 mL/100 L) 
conducted in subalpine areas of 
Kosciuszko National Park support these 

Fig. 3. I ranees Johnston assessing cover of 
Yarrow Achillea millefolium growing on road 

side in the subalpine /one of Koscius/ko 
National Park. Photograph by C, Pickering 

Fig, 4. I)r Alec Costtn, Dr Pickering, and 
NPWS Soil Conservation Officer Stuart 
Johnston examining Yarrow growing on Ml 
Twynam. Photograph by C . Kelly. 

Vol. 118(1)2001 


c Contribution 

results. They show thai the recommended 
chemical control for Yarrow in the 
Australian Alps is having little effect on 
containing the vegetative spread of the 
weed (Sanecki 1999), 

To belter quantify the threat of Yarrow in 
Kosciuszko National Park a four-year 
study into the population dynamics and 
invasive biology of the species is being 
conducted. In addition, the New South 
Wales National Parks and Wildlife Service 
is conducting chemical efficacy trials. 
Preliminary findings of both projects indi- 
cate that the emphasis for control of 
Yarrow must be placed on long-term man- 
agement Lhat involves the prevention of 
rhizome growth, suppression of seedlings, 
and seed and rhizome eradication. In reha- 
bilitation work like this, alternative mea- 
sures such as biological control and the use 
of competitive native species need to be 
Investigated in addition to the selective use 
of herbicides (Crawley 1997). Effective 
management during the construction of 
infrastructure is also vital. This includes 
reducing site disturbance and using uneon- 
taminatcd earth-construction materials. 
The trick is to find Yarrow's Achilles heel. 


The authors arc uratulul to Uraemc laiders and 
Stuart Johnston who commented on an earlier 
draft of this paper. 


Anon. (IWR)i Garden plants going bush. Becoming 
environmental weeds (Conservation Council of the 
South-cast Region and Canberra and the ACT 
( iovernroent: Canberra.) 

lUuirdoi, G.W, (1984). Regeneration of yarrow 
{Ai'hil/co millefolium L) rhi/ome fragments of dif- 
ferent length from various depths in the soil. Weed 
fttwdanA2M2 1-429. 

Bourdot, (_i.W. and Butler, J.H.B, (TQ85X Control of 
Achillea millefolium L (yarrow) bv rotary cultivation 
and glvphosphaic. 0V*/ Research 25, 251-258. 

HourdoL (i.W. and Field, KJ. (.1988). Review ot 'ecolo- 
gy and control of Achillea millefolium L. (yarrow) on 
arable land in New Zealand. New Zealand Journal of 
Experimental isricutture 10,90-108, 

Bourdot, G.W., Field, K..I., and White, J.G.H. (1982), 
Yarrow; number o I "buds in the soil and their activity 
on rhi/oinc fragments of varying lengths. New 
/calami Journal of Experimental Agriculture 10, 63- 

Bourdot, G.W., While, J.u.H, and Field, R.J. (1979). 

Seasonality ol' growth and developmenl in yarrow /// 

11 Proceedings pfthe Thirty-second Weed and Pc-sl 
Control Conference*, pp. W-54, 

Chandler. R I .. Kooper, S.N and Harvey. M.J. (1G82). 
Hlhanhotany and phytoehemistry of yarrow, Achillea 

Millefolium, Composilae. kconittuif Botany 36 (2). 

Clausen. U«, Keck, IXO. and Hiescy, W.M. (1958). 
Experimental sludies on the nature ol species 1 
Environmental responses ot climatic races of 
Achillea. Publication No. 58 1, (Carnegie Institution 
ol Washington Publication: Washington ) 

Costin, A-S. (1954). 'A Study of the feosystcins of ihe 
Monaro Regions of New South Wales with Special 
Reference to Soil Erosion', (Government Printer: 

(raw ley. M. (1997). Plant Herbivore Dynamics. In 
'Plant Ecology*, Ed. M.J. Crawley. (Blaekwell 
Science: Cambridge, Mass.). 

Field, RJ. and Jayaweera, C.S. (I9K5). The influence 
of elopyralid and glycophosphate on yarrow rhi/ome 
regeneration. In 'Proceedings of the New Zealand 
Weed and Pest Control Conference', pp. 106-109, 

Georgia. A.£. (1942). 'A Manual of Weeds'. (The 
MacMilhan Company: New York.) 

Green, K. i\m\ Osborne, W. (1994). 'Wildlife of the 
Australian Snow Country*. (Reed, Sydney.) 

Hardin, G.J. (1992). 'Flora of New South Wales'. 
(New South Wales University Press: Sydney.) 

Itcnkens. CCI ., field, R.J. and Bourdot'. G.W. (1992). 
The carbon economy and ecological strategy of 
yarrow (Achillea millefolium L). In 'Proceedings of 
the lirsl International Weed Control Congress", pp. 
219-222. Ids. li.Combellack and G. trie-sen. (Weed 
Science Society of Victoria, Monash University: 

Mallcn-Cooper, J. (1990), Introduced plants in the high 
altitude environments of Kosciusko Nalional Park. 
South Eastern Australia. (PhD I hesis, Australian 
Nalional University: Canberra.) 

MeDougall. K. (19X2). I he Alpine Vegetation of the 
liogong High Plains. Environmental Studies. 
I nvironincnlal Studies Publication No. 357. 
(Division Of Soil Conservation Authority. Ministry of 
Conservation: Victoria.) 

MeDougall. K.L. and Appleby. ML. (2000), Plant 
Invasions in the High Mountains of Norlh-Kastern 
Victoria. The Victorian Naturalist, 117 (2), 52-59. 

Rutherford, G.A. (1986). A survey of yarrow control 
with clopyrahd on Canterbury mixed cropping farms. 
In "Proceedings v\' the Thirty-ninth New Zealand 
Weed and Pest Conference', pp. 264-266. 

Rydherg. P. A. < 1916). Caruaeeae, Tageteao, 
Anthemideae. North American Flora .34 (3), 219- 

Sanity. G„ Hoskmgs, J. and Jacobs. S. (1998). Alps 
Invaders - Weeds of the Australian High Country. 
(Australian Alps liaison Commitlee; Canberra.) 

Sanecki. G. (1999). Yarrow (milfoil) Achillea millefoli- 
um (L). Results for the Monitoring of Current 
Control Techniques and the Testing, of Alternative 
Chemical Control Techniques. (Internal Report, New 
South Wales National Park and Wildlife Service: 

Stanley. T.I), and Ross, E.M, (19X3). Tlora of South- 
eastern Queensland'. (Queensland Department of 
Primary Industries: Brisbane.) 

fhorton-Wood, S. (1909). Colour on a plate. The 
Garden .lime. 442-44 7, 

Warwick. S.I, and Ltlaek, L. (I9S2). The biology of 
Canadian weeds 52. Achillea millefolium L, 
( 'anadian Journal of Plant Science 62 (52), 103-1X2. 

/hang, I),, Ainnta.i'A, A.M.. Affollcr. CM, and Dirr. 
M.A. ( 1996). Invironmental control of flowering and 
growth of Achillea millefolium 1 . -Summer Pastels", 
horta u/tural Scie/nv 31. 364-365. 


The Victorian Naturalist 

Book Reviews 

Celebrating Our Parks - Proceedings of the 

First Australian Symposium on Parks History 

(Mount Buffalo, 16-19 April 1998) 

Elery Hamilton-Smith (cd.) 

Available from: Rethink Consulting, P.O. Box 36, 

( \irhoti South. Victoria 3053. fSBN 646 36675 

$35.00 (phis $8.50 handling and postage) 

The history of conservation and the 
national park concept are under-researched 
fields in Australia, even though we have a 
lone and deeply telt tradition about these 
matters, and plenty of reason to be interest- 
ed in them for practical reasons. This 
seems surprising, as parks are generally a 
positive and enjoyable aspect of things 
environmental and it would seem more 
likely, therefore, that people would be 
keen to study them and in so doing, to cel- 
ebrate them. Given the depressing nature 
of a good deal of news and ideas about 'the 
environment*, the stories of substantial 
vision, achievement and continuing com- 
munity commitment to our Parks system 
could do with more attention than they get. 

The Symposium 'Celebrating Our Parks* 
and its Proceedings which are the subject 
of this review, was a successful and note- 
worthy attempt to address this deficiency. 
The Svmposium was one of the events 
which celebrated the centenary of National 
Parks in Victoria, and Mount Buffalo 
National Park in particular. Tilery 
Hamilton-Smith not only organised the 
Symposium, but also edited and published 
its Proceedings. The papers included in the 
Proceedings cover a good representation of 
the history makers of recent generations. 
These are from the former Premier. Sir 
Rupert (Dick) I lamer, and two former 
Directors of National Parks in Victoria 
(Don Saunders and John Brookes). Other 
well known figures in policy and recording 
of policy in recent times are also included, 
such as National Parks Advisory Council 
members Geoff Durham and Rachel 
1 aggetter, and the first Parks Planner (and 
cultural historian) Jane Lennon. There are 
also contributions by rangers, historians. 

current administrators, and community 
members. In addition, papers are presented 
from a strong contingent of overseas and 
interstate speakers, including Susan 
Markham from Acadia University. Nova 
Scotia. Her papers, and those from New 
Zealand, Queensland, Tasmania and New 
South Wales, bring out many of the paral- 
lels between Park systems in Canada and 
Victoria and the other States. Therefore 
this collection o\' papers on park history 
offers a varied, broad, persona! and author- 
itative overview of a huge range of ideas, 
issues and experiences. 

The papers are fairly loosely organised 
under the headings: Building the Victorian 
National Park System. Parks in a Cultural 
Context. Victoria's Alpine Parks. A 
Diversity of Parks, Wider Perspectives on 
Parks, and People and National Parks. 
Across these broad groupings, several 
themes emerge repeatedly. 

Some of these are: 

• The significant role played by many 
individual citizens. At first this role was 
in contesting the general exploitation o\' 
public land, as well as in establishing, 
defining and maintaining a statewide 
system of reserved land. Then later, it 
was in pioneering the parks system. 
These citizens include scientists, public 
servants and community activists such 
as \on Mueller, Stirling, Baldwin 
Spencer, George Petri n, Crosbie 
Morrison and Ros Garnet, who not only 
had the vision and took the lead but also 
inspired countless other Victorians to 
support them and to love and serve their 

• The range oi' bodies associated with 
parks and park management. These 

Vol. 118(1)2001 


Book Reviews 

include (hose who fought tor them, the 
Field Naturalists Club of Victoria, the 
Town and Country Planning Association 
and the VNPA. There are those that 
determined their existence - the vision- 
ary Bill Borthwick and the LCC; those 
that managed or administered them - 
Committees of Management which ran 
many parks up until 1975; and various 
versions of a National Park Service with 
its many committed public servants. 
There are those who developed them - 
the Victorian Railways and the RACV. 
And of course those that opposed them 
the Forest Commission, many Shire 
Councils, resource user groups. 
The way in which the same battles 
between the same kinds of protagonists 
are fought time after time. This is The 
tug-of-war between those who would 
exploit public land in all its forms and 
those who would preserve it" as 
described by Dick Flamer. This struggle 
continues in each generation. The outer 
appearance o\^ the argument fluctuates, 
taking on the form of the current buzz 
idea to validate economic exploitation, 
but the inner values remain the same, as 
do the ingredients that lead to successful 
defence of the Parks system. 
The significance oi\ and interest in, the 
cultural heritage of our parks. This qual- 
ity is not well recognised in their man- 
agement, nor is the fact that it enriches 
rather than diminishes the value of the 
parks for most visitors, Despite our 
admiration for qualities such as v pris- 
tine' and 'wild', it is the "people places' 
and the 'people experiences 1 that draw 
us and intrigue us on most visits, or the 
recorded stories, rather than the remote 
and unpeopled landscapes. Yet even 
today, cultural heritage does not attract 
its share o\^ attention as an important 

aspect of our Parks, compared with the 
dominance of ecological ideas such as 
protection of significant vegetation 
species or communities. 
This Proceedings contains many stories 
and points of view that are not easily avail- 
able elsewhere, as they are 'from the 
horse's mouth ' - current and personal, 
offered by people who were doing impor- 
tant tasks for the first time. I have used 
several oi' them in teaching Parks and 
Wildlife Management to undergraduates, 
especially Hamilton-Smith's 'Changing 
assumptions underlying national park sys- 
tems 7 and Don Saunders' 'Towards a rep- 
resentative system of conservation reserves 
for Victoria'. I would therefore recom- 
mend the Proceedings strongly for teachers 
of natural resource management and 
libraries where these matters are taught. 

Despite the length of history in our parks 
system, so much that needs to be recorded, 
shared and reflected upon is very recent 
and still resides mainly in people's heads 
and filing cabinets. And our Parks are 
under constant pressure, both positive and 
negative, to take on new directions and 
purposes, before we have adequately 
recorded or reflected on the old ones. The 
value of this Proceedings lies in the wealth 
of persona! knowledge and philosophy it 
contains, and in the sense of pride it com- 
municates in the achievements so far. This 
Proceedings is an invaluable aid to the 
important task not only of recording histo- 
ry as a basis for establishing traditions, but 
also for interpreting or critiquing them. 

Deirdre Slattery 

Department of Outdoor Education 

and Nature Tourism. 

La Trobe University. 


For assistance with the preparation of this issue, thanks to Maria Belvedere and 
Karen Dobson (label printing), Dorothy Mahler (administrative assistance) and 
Michael McBain {web page). 


The Victorian Naturalist 

Book Reviews 

Kosciuszko Alpine Flora 
Second Edition 

by A.B. Costin, M. Gray, C.J. Totterdell and D..I. Wimbush 

Publisher: CS1RO Publishing, 2000, Hardback 404 pp.. 
colour illustrations, maps, photographs. ISBN 0643065229, RRP $59.95 

The first edition of this work, published 
in 1979. received national and internation- 
al acclaim, and this second edition will no 
doubt be similarly well received. Although 
the title emphasises the contents related to 
the flora of the area, the book is far more 
comprehensive. Human association, from 
annual Aboriginal excursions, to early 
exploration by Strzeleeki and others, the 
beginning of the pastoral runs, the work o\' 
Mueller, the development of tourism, and 
the impact of the Snowy Mountains 
Hydro-electric Scheme, is briefly but com- 
prehensively covered in the second chap- 
ter. The first chapter clearly defines, by 
word and illustration, the terms of refer- 
ence concerning the alpine and sub-alpine 

In the third chapter there is an extensive 
treatment of geological evolution of the 
Kosciuszko Alpine Area which is essential 
to a proper understanding of the distribu- 
tion of the various plant communities. Our 
dondwanan connections are analysed and 
the sculpting of the present landscape is 
dealt with in some detail. For the geologi- 
cally challenged, this is clearly explained 
with the assistance of an excellent glos- 
sary, line drawings and a series of colour 
photographs delineating the diversified 
landscapes. In these years of concern with 
global warming and its possible effects on 
climate, there is some timely data about 
the extensive modifications that can occur 
with a variation in temperature of as little 
as 3T\ 

Having mastered the basic geology, it 
will become clear in the fourth chapter 
why the various plant communities occur 
where they do. The authors define eight 
distinct communities, give several exam- 
ples of the characteristic species to be 
found in each and where such communities 

are likely to be found. Once again, the 
detail is assisted by clear definitions, more 
than two dozen colour photographs, clear 
diagrams and a colour coded map in the 
form of an endpaper. A similar map was 
given in the first edition, in two sections, 
as part of the text. It must be said that the 
endpaper in this edition is easier to under- 
stand than the maps in the former, but that 
it lacks any reference to the contour inter- 
vals or altitude of reference points. 

This chapter is essential in understanding 
why species occur where they do. It also 
helps the understanding of why there are 
apparent disjoint distributions, why habi- 
tats may contain variations in the general 
scheme, and the manner in which the vege- 
tation of a given area can alter even with- 
out the interference of the human element. 

These essential introductory chapters 
occupy less than one fifth of the book, and 
the next seven pages comprise a list, in 
taxonomic order, of the 212 native species, 
subspecies and varieties occurring in the 
Koscius/ko Alpine Area. In addition, a key 
is added referring the habitats to the eight 
plant communities defined previously. The 
21 endemic species are clearly indicated. 
Over 260 colour plates follow. Some of 
these plates contain separate images salient 
to the identification of the plant, and all 
have captions referring to distinguishing 
features and size. The photographs are not 
to any particular scale, and some have 
been magnified as an aid to identification, 
as they would be with a hand lens. 
Reference to the notes on identification 
and description will clarify any problems 
with si/e. 

A twelve page bibliography, referable 
back to the text, will allow the keen stu- 
dent to follow up on any or all of the 
aspects covered in the book. The following 

Vol. 118(1)2001 


Book Reviews 

142 pages of taxonomic information brings In addition to this hardback volume, 

(his edition up to dale with current knowl- there is a paperback Kosciuszko Alpine 

edge published in the Floras of Victoria Flora Field Edition of 245 pages by the 

and New South Wales, as well as in the same publisher and authors. This contains 

volumes of the Flora of Australia pub- the same material as the hardback with the 

lished so Tar. No apologies are offered for exception of the taxonomic identification 

the reasonably technical nature of this sec- and description. This shorter edition is 

lion, the use of Which is enhanced by a priced at $29.95. 

twelve page glossary of botanical terms. this beautifully produced book is now 

Throughout the descriptions there are cross available, ami as the reviewer said of the 

references to the relevanl illustrations, fust edition, 'see ii and you'll want to pos- 

Finally there is a very lull index, each sess it'! 
species named having a reference to the 

pages on which the description occurs, its K.J. Fletcher 

appearance in the general lexl and the rele- 28 Marjorie Av&nue, 

vant colour plate. Belmont, Victoria 321 6. 

We regret to announce the death of Dr George Thomas. 
George, an Honorary Member, had a long association with 
the club, and had been a member since 1 942. An obituary 
will appear in a later issue. 

We were also saddened to hear of the death of Stefanie 
Rennick on 3 January, 2001. Stefanie was tireless in her com- 
mitment to conservation of the flora of the Mornington 
Peninsula. A tribute to Stefanie will appear at a later date. 

A Second Assistant Editor 

We are pleased to welcome Anne Morton as Assistant Editor for The Victorian 
Naturalist, Anne has worked as a desktop publisher on the journal since l l ) l )7. We 
are looking forward to working with Anne on your journal, where her expertise in 
administration, proof-reading ami desktop publishing w ill he welcome. 

Anne is a biologist and her field of interest is the ecolog) of foxes in an urban envi- 

Morilvn Grey and AJistair Evans 

2 * s The Victorian Naturalist 


John Paul Stewart 

2 February 1934-21 December 2000 

John Paul Stewart was bom in Footscray 
on 2 February 1934. John was a good child 
and his father once said he could not recall 
having smacked him. nor was there any 
need for serious remonstration. John 
attended St. John's School in West 
Footscray. He then won a scholarship to 
attend St. Joseph's Technical College in 
South Melbourne. He became dux in his 
last year there. 

During his late teens. John took an inter- 
est in photography. He enjoyed taking pho- 
tographs of friends' weddings and babies 
and he developed the pictures himself. In 
later years John spent more time and film 
photographing grass seeds, flowers and 
unusual fungi found in the western 

John started work as an apprentice 
plumber at Maize Products. Footscray. He 
did his stint of National Service training in 
the 50s. He said he finished his training the 
fittest he had ever been in his life. John 
loved ballroom dancing and went to such 
events at every opportunity. He also 
enjoyed underwater fishing, but it lost its 
appeal the day he almost drowned. 

John worked at the Fawkner Crema- 
torium and Memorial Park from 1968 until 
his retirement in February 1999. In the last 
30 years he had many interests. Time was 
spent with his children driving them to cal- 
isthenics, tennis, cricket, school functions, 
speech and drama classes. He said it never 
failed to be a miserable night, weather- 
wise, for parent-teacher interviews. When 
the local scout group needed a leader at 
different times, John took on the role over 
a period of 15 years and as a result attend- 
ed scout jamborees all over Australia. 

He had many interests weaving, gem- 
stones. Adult Education Association 
Geology and finally as a field naturalist. I 
first got to know John through A FA 
Geology. It was the practice after taking an 
Adult Education Geology course to join 
the AEA Geology Group and continue 
one's interest with lectures and excursions 

in the Association. At the time John was 
President of that group and he convinced 
me to lead excursions to central Victorian 
geology sites. 

When John was involved with AEA 
Geology and the Melbourne University 
Geology Department, he went on field 
trips all over outback Australia as their 
cook. (He had never peeled a vegetable at 
home!) lie kept journals of his many trips 
and in later life used a computer to keep 
track of his plant lists. 

When the AEA Geology Group disband- 
ed, the remaining members then joined the 
FNCV Geology Group, which had the 
same aims as the AEA Geology Group. 
John joined the FNCV in 1990 and once a 
member, he linked his geology with 
botany, concentrating on the western sub- 
urbs, and he became most involved with 
native grasses and plants and the impact of 
urban living on remnant grasslands. 

At least once a week, ov perhaps fort- 
nightly, he would visit the Herbarium to 
have a plant or seed identified. Sometimes 
he did not agree with their conclusions and 
invariably he was correct. He wrote arti- 
cles on remnant vegetation in The 
Victorian Naturalist and look members ot' 
our Club on several excursions in western 
and northern suburban localities. One arti- 
cle carefully documented a list of plants in 
the remnant vegetation o\' the Fawkner 
Memorial Park (excluding the deliberately 
planted gardens) where he worked (Vol 
109(3), 1992. pp. 74-79). 

A funeral service was held for John at 
R.C. Corpus Chrisli Church Glcnroy on 27 
December 2000. Dorothy Mahler and I 
attended with Ian Stewart, an FNCV mem- 
ber and cousin of John. 

John Stewart's cheery countenance, 
integrity and faithfulness will be sorely 
missed by his family and Club members. 

Noel Schleiger 

1 Asik-y Street 
Montmorency, Victoria 3094, 

Vol. 118(1)2001 


Book Reviews 

Pythons of Australia: a Natural History 

by Geordie Torr, illustrated by Eleanor Torr 

Publisher: University of New South Wales Press, 2000. 103 pp. 16 pages with colour plate* 
RHP $32. 95 (met- GST)* paper cover 

Anyone who has wandered into one of the 
growing number of pet shops selling native 
wildlife will have realised that pythons are 
becoming increasingly popular as pets. 
This popularity is leading to a greater 
awareness of these intriguing snakes, par- 
ticularly amongst those o( us unfortunate 
southerners who do not share our local 
environment with pythons. It is no longer 
only biologists and keen amateur herpelolo- 
gists who have an interest in information 
about the biology and ecology of pythons; 
now a far wider group of pet-owners want 
information on these fascinating animals. 
'Pythons of Australia* is a text that will 
appeal to all of these people, as well as stu- 
dents and anyone with an interest in the 
environment or Australian wildlife. 

Geordie Torr is a writer for Australian 
Geographic magazine, and the skills he 
employs to popularise science and the 
environment for this magazine are evident 
in 'Pythons', with somewhat complex con- 
cepts explained in a manner that will be 
easily understood by all readers. Perhaps 
more importantly, Torr is a protege of 
Professor Richard Shine, arguably 
Australia's (and one of the world's) fore- 
most authority on snakes. The work of 
Shine and his students, as well as the 
extensive research on pythons conducted 
by Gavin Bedford, forms the basis of most 
of the information in this book. The work 
of these researchers provides much recent- 
ly collected data from which to construct a 
comprehensive overview of the history, 
biology and ecology of pythons. 

'Pythons of Australia* is one of a series 
of natural history books that examine 
Australian native wildlife. The bulk of the 
other books in the series has tended to tar- 
get more iconic species (e.g. Kangaroos 
and Koalas), or those that 111 the 'cute and 
cuddly* profile (e.g. Mountain Pygmy-pos- 
sum and Little Penguin), although Harold 
Heatwole's 'Sea Snakes* is an obvious 

exception. Unlike other books in the scries. 
'Pythons* provides an overview of the cap- 
tive care and breeding of pythons, a feature 
that will undoubtedly give this book broad- 
er appeal than others in the series. 

The book commences with an examina- 
tion of the history of Australian pythons, 
from the fossil record to the discovery of 
modern pythons, acknowledging that, prior 
to European incursion, pythons were well 
known to the aborigines and are a notable 
feature of aboriginal art. The taxonomy and 
biogeography of pythons are explored, as 
well as the striking convergent evolution 
between the spectacular Green Tree Python 
of Australia and New Guinea, and the 
American Tree Boa of South America. The 
section on biogeography incorrectly states 
that, within Victoria, pythons are restricted 
to the more arid regions in the north-west. 
Two subspecies of Morelia spilota occur 
within Victoria. The Carpel Python occurs 
along the Murray River from near Walwa 
in the east, to the border with South 
Australia in the west, as well as various 
localities considerably south of the river in 
the north of the State. The Diamond Python 
occurs in far east Gippsland. This is a 
minor criticism, however, as the book must 
take a broad-brush approach to the subject 
of species* distribution. 

The anatomy and physiology of pythons 
is then discussed, covering both external 
and internal anatomy, as well as senses, 
metabolism, digestion and water 
relations/excretion. The text is interspersed 
with some trivial gems, including the fact 
that the Black-headed Python is able to 
regenerate its tongue if it is damaged! 
Many of the complex physiological and 
experimental concepts in the text are han- 
dled admirably by the author, bringing 
them easily into the realm of the lay reader. 

Based largely on data collected during 
radio-telemetry studies, Chapter 3 covers 
the behaviour of pythons, but includes 


The Victorian Naturalist 

Book Reviews 

information on locomotion, spatial subdi- 
vision and shelter sites. Although infre- 
quently observed, pythons display numer- 
ous interesting behavioural traits, ranging 
from ritualised combat amongst male 
snakes in the breeding season, to secreting 
themselves in the ceilings of houses in 
winter, unknown to most of their human 
co-tenants! Unfortunately, several of the 
graphs in this (and other) chapters do not 
have 'stand alone' explanations of all 
graphical symbols or axis titles, although 
the significance of the graphs can be 
gleaned from the accompanying text. 

Chapter 4 covers reproduction and life 
history, exploring such themes as repro- 
ductive behaviour, gestation, incubation, 
clutch sizes and frequency and hatching, as 
well as post-hatching traits such as growth, 
sex ratios and sexual dimorphism. A par- 
ticularly interesting aspect of python repro- 
ductive behaviour is explored in this chap- 
ter. Unusuallv for an eelothermic animal. 
female pythons are able to generate heat 
internally to assist m the brooding of eggs. 
Using a process known as "shivering ther- 
mogenesis* the female uses regular spas- 
modic muscle contractions to raise her 
body temperature well above the ambient 
temperature. She does this whilst coiled 
around her eggs, transferring her warmth 
to the eggs and helping to maintain them at 
a high and stable temperature. In the sec- 
tion on Longevity and mortality a range of 
species that prey on pythons is mentioned, 
however foxes arc not specifically includ- 
ed amongst these. Predation by foxes 
appears to be one of the major threats to 
the Carpet Python in Victoria, and is one 
of the reasons this subspecies is considered 
threatened in this State. 

Food and feeding is covered in Chapter 5. 
including the types of prey taken by various 
python species and the methods used to 
capture these prey. As Torr points out. the 
ability of pythons to consume relative!} 
enormous prey is 'the stuff of legend 1 (p. 
15). and taking prey up to the si/e of pigs 
and wallabies is not uncommon for some 
larger python species. Most adult pythons 
prey largely upon birds and mammals 
(although the Eilack-headed Python takes 
few mammals, relying instead on a 
predominantly reptilian diet), although 

juveniles of most species tend to eat mainly 

The conservation and management of 
pythons is discussed in Chapter 6, where 
Torr points to the dearth of data on Hie 
abundance, distribution, ecology and 
processes threatening many python 
species. Some species of python are con- 
sidered locally threatened in certain areas, 
some subspecies are considered threatened 
by various state government agencies 
(such as the Carpet Python in Victoria), 
and the Rough-scaled Python is known 
from only three specimens. Like so many 
other species of native wildlife, the great- 
est threats to pythons come from habitat 
destruction and introduced predators, and 
onlv the amelioration of these threats will 
create long-term security for the snakes. 

Chapter 7 covers the captive care of 
pythons, and should make this book partic- 
ularly attractive to hcrpetoculturalists and 
those considering acquiring a python for a 
pet. The added advantage of appealing to 
this market is that people keeping pythons 
will be able to discover so much more 
about their serpent companions than is 
offered in most books on the captive care 
of reptiles. The final section. 'Species 
accounts" provides a profile of each 
species, and will allow people with captive 
pythons to enjoy the wider, natural context 
of their pels. 

'Pythons of Australia' is an attractive 
book, and a useful addition to the library of 
biologists, students and both experienced 
and novice amateur herpetologists and will 
hopefully stimulate further interest and 
research into these animals. It contains 34 
glossy colour plates, many showing interest- 
ing and engaging natural history traits such 
as feeding and egg laying. Of particular 
interest is Gavin Bedford's photographs of 
an albino Olive Python. Typographical 
errors, whilst present, are few and do little to 
detract from an interesting, informative and 
quality text, and 1 heartily recommend it. 


Fauna Ecology Section. 

Arthur Rylah restitute lor Environmental Research, 

Department ofNalural Resources ami Environment, 

pu Hii\ 137, Heidelberg, Victoria 5084, 

Vol. 118(1)2001 


The Field Naturalists Club of Victoria Inc. 

Reg No A00336UX 

Established 1880 

In which is incorporated the Microscopical Society of Victoria 

OBJECTIVES: To stimulate interest in natural history 
and to preserve and protect A ustralian flora and fauna. 

Membership is open to any person interested in natural history and includes 
beginners as well as experienced naturalists. 

Registered Office: FNCV, I Gardenia Street, Blackburn, Victoria 3130, Australia. 

Postal Address: FNCV. Locked Bag 3, PO Blackburn, Victoria 3 130, Australia. 

Phone/Fax (03) 9877 9860: International Phone/l ; a\ 61 3 9877 9860. 


His Excellency, The Honourable James Gobbo, The Governor of Victoria 

Key Office-Bearers 

President: Dk Tom May, c/- National Herbarium, Birdwood Avenue, South Yarra 3141. 9252 2319 
Vice Presidents: Dk Noel SciiiKKa r, I Astley Street, Montmorency 3094. 9435 8408 and 

Mr John Sixrk k, 1 1 3 Arundel Road, Park Orehards 3114. AH 9876 1762 
Hon, Secretary: Mrs Annf, Morton, 10 Rupicola Court, Rowville 3178. 9790 0656 
Hon. Treasurer. Mr Alistlr FERGUSON, 2 Scott Street, Canterbury 3126. 9836 0729 
Subscription-Secretary: FNCV, Locked Bag 3, PO Blackburn 3130. 9877 9860 
Editor, The Vic. Nat.: Mrs Mlrilyn Grey, 8 Martin Road, Glen Iris 3146. 9S89 6223 
Assist. Editor, The Vie. Nat.: Mr Alistair Evans. 2/5 Glenbrook Avenue, Clayton 3168. 9545 6134 and 

Mks Anni: Morion, as above. 
Librarian: MrsSiilila HOUGHTON, FNCV, Locked Bag 3, PO Blackburn 3130. AH 5428 4097 
Excursion Coordinator: Mr DENNIS Mi:i t/i-r, 8 Flarcourt Avenue, Caufield 3162. 9523 1853 
Book Sales: Dr Alan Parkin, FNCV. Locked Bag 3, PO Blackburn 3130. All 9435 5749 
Book Brokerage: Mr Ray Wi ii i l, 20 Alfred Street. Essendon 3040. 9379 3602 
Newsletter Editors; Dr Noli Scm I -kihr, as above and Mr Kldii Marshall. 8/423 Tooronga 

Road. Hawthorn East 3 1 23. 9882 3044 
Conservaiion Coordinator: Ms NATALIE Smith, 37 Childer Street, Kcw 3101. AH 9853 1339 

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Volume 118 (2) 

April 2001 

Published by The Field Naturalists Club of Victoria since 1884 

A. General appearance of fruit body o: 
Zelleromyces sp. 

B. General appearance of fruit body of 
Macowanites sp. 

C. Nothocastoreum cretaceum, showing pow- D. Gelopellis sp., showing gelatinous interior, 
dery interior. 


E. Protoglossum luteum, showing sponge-like F. Mesophellia oleifera, with central sterile 
interior. core. 

G. Labyrinthomyces varius, with solid interior. H. Zelleromyces sp., note latex produced on 

cutting fruit body. 

PLATE 1 - all photos by Teresa Lebel 

C. Glomus sp.. a zygomycete (pea-truffle). 

D. Hebeloma aminophilum or the 'Ghoul fun- 
gus 1 , growing amongst the carcass and bones ol 
a dead animal. 

£. Vfycorrhizal root tips of Ahms sp. (Alder) in F. Truffle fruit bod\ pushing through soil, eaus- 
pot culture. ing soil to be raised. 

(». Sample from a ground up faecal pellet of II. Truffle fruit body in situ after raking the leaf 
Northern Flying Squirrel showing the large litter aside, 
number of different fungal spores present. 

PLATE 2 - all photos by Teresa Lebel 

A. Cymatoderma elegans, Bangalee. Photo: Pat Jordan. 

C. I'ihri.s.sea dura, Tasmania. Photo: Bruce Fuhrer. 




Volume 118(2)2001 



Editor: Merilyn Grey 
Assistant Editors: Alistair Evans and Anne Morton 

Contributions Native Truffles of Australia, by Teresa Lebel 38 

Notes on Fungimap Target Species, by Tom May 44 

Field Identification, Ecology and Conservation Status of the 
Red-chested Button-quail Turnix pyrrhothorax in 
Northern Victoria, by L.E. Conole and R. Mac Natty 56 

Research Report The Impact of Dieback Disease {Phylophthora einnamomi) on 
Vegetation Near Mt Stapylton in the Northern Grampians 
National Park, Western Victoria, by Julian Di Stefano 46 

Naturalist Notes Observations of Skink Mating Behaviour, by Alastair Traill 58 

Observations of Black Snake Feeding, by Alastair Traill 59 

Book Reviews Birds of French Island Wetlands, by Des Quinn and Geoff Lacey, 

reviewed by Martin O'Brien 60 

Common Australian Fungi: a Bushwalker's Guide, 
bv Tuny Young, reviewed by Rod Barker 61 

Wildflowers of the Brisbane Ranges, by Clive and Merle Trigg, 
reviewed by Anne Morton 62 

Field Guide to the Orchids of New South Wales and Victoria, 
Second Edition, by Tony Bishop, reviewed by Joan Broadberry .64 

Native Orchids of Southern Australia: A Field Guide, 
by David and Barbara Jones, reviewed by Joan Broadberry 65 

Tribute George Anthony Thomas, B.Sc, Ph.D. (Melb.), 

by Neil W. Arehbold 66 

ISSN (1(142-5184 

Cover: Entoloma vireseens, one of the few blue fungi, Fake Matheson, New Zealand. 
Photo: lima Dunn. 

Web page: 
email: f'n c \ a v i c n e t . n c t . a u 


Native Truffles of Australia 

Teresa Lebel 1 


Information is presented on the biology, ecology, general taxonomy and diversity of truffles in 

Australia. A definition of what truffles are is provided, and the importance of their interactions with 
plants and animals in native forests is summarized. Several hundred species have been described 
from Australia, yel this is probably a small proportion of the total number of species present. A gen- 
eral guide to where to look for and how to collect truffles is also provided. {The Victorian Namnrfist, 
118(5). 2001, 38-4.3.) 


Truffles (both true and false) do occur in 
Australia. Several hundred species of truf- 
fles have been described, mostly from the 
higher rainfall, tall forests of coastal 
regions. The diversity of truffles found in 
the last century in Australia is comparable 
to that of Europe, where the level of taxo- 
nomic and gastronomic interest has been 
much higher for several hundred years. 

Truffles are fungi which either do not 
actively discharge their spores and/or have 
fertile tissue (spore-bearing) which matures 
in an enclosed, below-ground (hypogeous) 
or partially exposed (emergent) fruit body. 
These fungi, which are relatives of the cup 
fungi and gilled mushrooms, have evolved a 
spore dispersal strategy that depends on ani- 
mals and many have strong odours which 
act as attractanls (Castellano et ai. 1989; 
CTaridge and May 1994; Mascr et ai. 1978; 
Trappe 1979). Some Australian mammals, 
.such as the Long-footed Poloroo. rely on 
these fungi as a food resource for a large 
portion of their diet all year round (CTaridgc 
et ai. 1996). The majority of truffles arc 
thought to form beneficial (mycorrhi/al ) 
associations with the roots of many trees 
and shrubs, acting as buffers against stresses 
such as diseases and aiding in nutrient 
cycling and the exchange of nutrients 
between plants and fungi. The interactions 
between truffles, plants and animals have 
implications for management and conserva- 
tion of all these groups. This article presents 
information about the biology, ecology, 
general taxonomy and diversity of truffles 
in Australia. It also provides a guide to 
where to look for and how to collect 

National Herbarium of Victoria, Royal Botanic 
Gardens Melbourne, Bird wood Avenue, South Yarra, 
Victoria 3141 . 

What are (ruffles? 

Like mushrooms, truffles are ephemeral 
fruit bodies that produce spores by which 
new colonies of the fungus are established. 
Unlike mushrooms which fruit above- 
ground, truffles typically have fruit bodies 
that mature below ground. The spore-bear- 
ing tissue is usually completely enclosed by 
an outer covering (called a peridium) or 
may be exposed to some degree, but the 
spores are retained (i.e. no spore print is 
obtainable as it is in mushrooms) until the 
fruit body decomposes or is eaten. Truffles 
are quite variable in size, shape, colour, tex- 
ture, odour, overall appearance and micro- 
scopic features. In size, truffles range from 
a five cent piece to larger than a tennis ball, 
and can weigh over 400 grams. The fruit 
bodies mostly look like small pebbles or 
potatoes (Plate I A) but can also have the 
appearance of an aborted mushroom (Plate 
I B). A full range of colour from pure white, 
flesh tones, drab browns and yellows to 
brilliant orange, green, red, purple or blue is 
visible on the exterior and interior of fruit 
bodies of different species. When cut in half 
truffles may be powdery (Plate IC), gelati- 
nous (Plate ID), sponge-like (Plate IE), or 
have a central core of sterile tissue (Plate 
IF), or solid with a marbled appearance 
(Plate IG). A few truffles produce a milky 
latex when cut or injured (Plate 111) and 
some change colour. Most Australian native 
truffles have a chambered appearance in 

The truffle fruit body form has arisen 
several limes in three quite different lin- 
eages of fungi: the ascomyceles (cup fungi 
and allies - Plate 2A), basidiomyectes 
(mushrooms, puffballs, and bracket fungi - 
Plate 2B), and zygomycetes (Pea-trullles - 
Plate 2C). This diversity of origin is appar- 
ent in the variety of colours, textures, 


The Victorian Naturalist 


odours and overall structure of the fruit 
bodies of truffles. Many truffles can be 
clearly recognised as related to specific 
genera of fungi which have above-ground 
fruit bodies. These relationships are based 
on the similarity' of microscopic characters 
such as spore ornamentation, or shape and 
type of sterile cells. So, Tuber (truffle) and 
Peziza (cup fungi) have similar microchar- 
acters as do Hydnangium (truffle) and 
Laccaria (mushroom), Protoglossum (truf- 
fle) and Cortinarius (mushroom), and 
Rhizopogon (truffle) and Suiilus (bolete) 
(Bruns et at. 1989; Trappe 1979). These 
relationships have been confirmed from 
studies of DNA sequences; however, many 
other hypothesised relationships remain to 
be tested using molecular tools. A few taxa 
defy placement in known groups and are 
placed in their own families and/or orders, 
e.g. Mesophelliaceae, Elaphomycelales. 

The three main groups of truffles can be 
easily distinguished by differences in how 
the spores are formed at the microscopic 
level. Ascomycctes produce up to eight 
spores inside globose to cylindric sac-like 
cells called asci (Fig. I). Basidiomycetes 
produce up to eight spores on the outside 
of club-shaped cells called basidia (Fig. 2), 
and zygomycetes produce large spores at 
the end of hyphae. It is difficult for the 
casual observer to tell the different groups 
of truffles apart on sight. However, defi- 
nite macroscopic differences are detectable 
by the experienced eye (Trappe and 
Castellano 1991). 


Many different terms have been used to 
describe truffles. All the terms describe a 
particular fruit body form, with partially or 

completely enclosed fertile tissue, and may 
be correctly applied to a subset of all the 
fungi that have this habit. The term 'truf- 
fle 1 is sometimes restricted to the prized 
edible fruit bodies of the genus Tuber, or 
to ascomycete truffles (the true truffles), 
with the basidiomycete and zygomycete 
truffles then referred to as 'false truffles'. 
Another term used for this group is 
'sequestrate' in reference to the spore-pro- 
ducing tissue remaining enclosed even at 
maturity (Kendrick 1992). For simplicity, 
in this paper I use the term truffle to 
encompass the true and false truffles. 

Nutrition, Structure and Habit 

Macrofungi are made up of extremely 
fine branching tubes called hyphae (singu- 
lar hypha) which make up the diffuse, 
perennial body or mycelium of the fungus 
in the soil as well as the fruit body of the 
mushroom or truffle. The hyphal walls are 
composed of chitin, which is indigestible 
to almost all animals (this is why eating a 
large helping of mushrooms may give 
some people indigestion). Linlike plants, 
fungi have no means of making their own 
food, instead gaining nutrition either from 
living organisms or from their remains 
after death. Fungi have a large array of 
enzymes that can digest some recalcitrant 
substrates such as chitin (insects and other 
fungi), keratin (hair, skin, horn, feathers), 
cellulose (plant material) and lignin 
(wood) (Plate 2D). This ability to use a 
range of substrates makes the fungi 
extremely important in recycling of nutri- 
ents in ecosystems. 

The majority of truffles form mycor- 
rhizae, a close and mutually beneficial 
association with plant roots (llarlcy and 

Fig. 1. Local 
with eight asc 

tores in ascomyceles, Ascus 
pores inside. Photo: Teresa Lebel. 

Fig. 2. Location of spores in basidiomycetes. 
Basidium with single spore attached external ly 
to '-.iuML'iii:iia. Photo: leresa Lebel. 

Vol. 118(2)2001 



Smith 1983). Indeed, many plants depend 
on mycorrhizal fungi for seedling estab- 
lishment and growth, and generally assoei- 
ate with many species of fungi. The fungus 
forms a tight weft of hyphac around the 
line lateral root tips of the plant (like a 
sock) and penetrates between the outer- 
most cells of the root, without apparently 
harming the plant cells. In this partnership 
the plant obtains water and nutrients from 
the fungus and the fungus gains nutrients 
and compounds from the plant that it can- 
not produce itself. The physical barrier 
presented by the fungal hyphae on the root 
tips, and the increased nutrient capabilities 
of the root system in this association, pro- 
vide a buffer against stresses such as 
drought and disease (Plate 21: ). In 
Australia most forest irees and many 
shrubs form mycorrhizal associations, 
especially from the genera Leptospermum. 
Eucalyptus, Allocasuarina, Acacia, 
Gastrolobium and hfothofagus (Brundrett 
et a!, 1996). The majority of Australian 
truffles appear to be relatively non-selec- 
tive in terms of the plants that they associ- 
ate with, for example Hydnangium 
carneum which appears to form mycor- 
rhizal associations with a large number of 
different Eucalyptus and Leptospermum 

Truffles are generally greatest in number 
and variety near the interface between the 
litter layer and the hard subsoil layer, i.e. 
within the top five centimetres of leaf litter 
and soil. A few. including species of 
Tuber, Elaphotnyces, and members of the 
Mesophelliaceae, fruit more deeply in the 
soil: some have been found at depths of 
nearly a metre. Where the soil is compact- 
ed, as in heavily-used camp grounds, pic- 
nic areas or along abandoned roads, truf- 
fles often fruit on the soil surface or close 
enough that they hump up or sometimes 
crack the soil (Plate 2F). The mycelium is 
present in the soil all year; all thai is 
required is the right trigger for fruit bodies 
lo be formed. Truffles may fruit at any 
lime of the year; most species fruit in only 
one season, but others appear more or less 
continuously throughout the growing sea- 
son. In temperate regions, spring and 
autumn usually produce a Hush of* truffle 
fruit bodies, which generally coincides 
with maximum fruiting of mushrooms. As 

with many mushrooms, the diversity and 
extent of fruiting appears lo be largely 
affected by rainfall and temperature. 
However, the hypogeous nature of the fruit 
body means that truffles are protected a lit- 
tle more from short droughts or cold snaps 
and so may be found for longer periods. 
Ascomycete truffles are slow growing, tak- 
ing many months lo mature and then slow- 
l\ decay. In contrast, many basidiomycete 
truffles tend to be ephemera!; the fruit bod- 
ies form, expand and mature and decay 
over a few weeks. Zygomycete truffles 
may be found all year round. 

Diversity and Distribution 

Truffles occur worldwide in a diversity 
of habitats, wherever suitable plant associ- 
ates grow. Australia has one of the highest 
levels of diversity of truffles in the world: 
83 genera and 294 species are currently 
known, and several more genera and 
species are currently being described. 
Information from recent studies in 
Australia, both laxonomic revisions of spe- 
cific genera or groups and ecological sur- 
veys of different habitats, suggests that 
between 12-24% of species are known 
(Lebel 1998; Claridge et ai 2000 a, b). On 
that basis, between 1250 and 2450 species 
may occur in Australia. More than 35% of 
Australian truffle genera and 95% of 
species are endemic (Bougher and Lebel in 
press), though a lack of collections from 
other southern hemisphere countries such 
as Africa and South America may cause 
some overestimalion of endemism. 

Although extensive collections have been 
made in Australia and New Zealand in the 
last eight years, much of the data should be 
considered preliminary as many areas have 
not been sampled, seasonal data is often 
lacking, and the area sampled at each site 
in short, opportunistic surveys is generally 
quite small. Considerable diversity can be 
found on relatively small, localised siles if 
surveys are conducted more than once in a 
year or over several years, e.g. Claridge et 
ai (2000a) collected truffle fungi twice in 
a 14 ha area and found 209 species of 
which 153 were undescribed. Knowledge 
of the diversity and ecology of truffle fungi 
is limited, primarily because these fungi 
can only be reliably identified by their fruit 
bodies, which are generally ephemeral, 


The Victorian Naturalist 

seasonally abundant, patchily distributed 
and often hypogeal, that is, time-consum- 
ing to find. A single sampling will 'pick 
up' only a fraction of the species present at 
a site, and recording a reasonable propor- 
tion requires repeated sampling at regular 
intervals throughout the year and over sev- 
eral years (Claridge et al 2000 a, b; 
Colgan et at 1999). Sampling of truffle 
fungi is further complicated bv the high 
proportion of undescribed species and lack 
of keys and descriptions, making identifi- 
cation difficult. 


As the fruit bodies of truffles typically 
mature below ground they must be 
removed from the soil if their spores are to 
be dispersed. This is generally accom- 
plished by insects and other animals which 
rely on the truffles as a Food resource (Fig. 
3). Many of the truffles produce strong 
odours which act as attractants when they 
are mature, ensuring the fungus has its 
spores dispersed. The recently re-discov- 
ered Gilberts Potoroo from Western 
Australia and the Long-hooted Potoroo 
from eastern Australia relv on fungi year 
round for up to 90% of their diet (Claridge 
ct al 1996). Examination of faecal pellets 
shows that the animals are finding a 
greater diversity of truffle species (based 
on spore types) than is apparent from fruit 
body collections made in the same areas 
(Plate 2G). Other Australian animals such 
as native mice and rats m;i\ eat significant 
amounts of truffles, especially in autumn 
(Claridge and May 1994). 

The edibility o\~ Australian (ruffles for 
human consumption is largely untested. 
Aboriginal peoples are known to use sever- 
al types of truffles for food, medicine and 


other purposes (Kalotas 1996). Anecdotal 
evidence of a very few eases of upset stom- 
achs exists in the literature, but these are 
usually cases of mis-identification of puff- 
balls. Only a few of the several hundred 
species of truffles are considered delica- 
cies, and all of these are native to the 
Northern Hemisphere. The esteemed edible 
truffles, species of Tuber, have been intro- 
duced to Australia on the roots of oaks and 
chestnuts in various commercial ventures in 
New Zealand and Tasmania (Hall et al. 
1998). However, none of the Australian 
native truffles examined for taxonomic pur- 
poses so far has the same combination of 
smell, taste and texture as the 'gourmet' 
truffles of France and Italy (Fig. 4). 

Collecting truffles 

Though abundant in Australia, truffles are 
often overlooked because of the hypogeous 
nature of the fruit body, and the appearance 
of some as aborted mushrooms. A fork or a 
rake is the most important tool for 
unearthing truffles. A four-tincd garden 
fork with the handle cut to about one metre 
long is the most comfortable, as it requires 
less stooping and covers more area than a 
smaller type of rake. The most likely loca- 
tion for truffles is around the roots of suit- 
able hosts. If searching after the first heavy 
rains of autumn or during summer periods, 
the canopy drip-line or base of the trunk are 
good places to start your search. At any 
time of year, signs of animal activity, such 
as digs or turned-over soil and leal' litter are 
important clues to truffle production. Small 
mammals usually unearth truffles one at a 
time, leaving a small pit; they will dig up 
only the more mature truffles, leaving the 
less mature to ripen. Hence, the small pits 
indicate likely places lo rake. Other animals 

Kit;. 3. Possum eating a truffle offered to it. Fig. 4. Italian white truffles lor sale in a market 
Photo; (cresa I .ebel. in the Alba region, Italy. PhOlO: Teresa l.ebel. 

Vol. 118(2)2001 


( l ontributiom 

such ;is Lyrebirds una over Large amounts 
ol leaf litter, and ii can be quite profitable 
to lollnw as the bird actively 'truffles 1 for 
you. Random searching can also provide 
lino collections; Generally a heavy ground 
cover of grasses or small shrubs is noi con- 
ducive to high abundance or diversity of 

Choose a spot, ihen gently rake the Utter 
aside and inspect the exposed humus lor 
specimens. Ihen rake the humus down to 
mineral soil while watching lor truffles as 
the soil is turned over (Plate -I I). I (there is 
any suggestion of a mycelial network, con- 
tinue raking a linle deeper or extend the 
dig, Once a specimen is found, note the 
depth and kind of material in which it is 

growing; truffles are often gregarious, and 

many additional specimens may he nearby 
in the same substrale or mycelial system. 
When raking is complete, the soil and litter 
should be redistributed onto the original 
spot. More than one species may fruit in a 
spot, so lake notes for each specimen that 
appears different from the others, and place 
in separate wax or paper bags or wrap in 
wax paper, Do not use plastic, as it is a 
good incubator for bacteria and retains 

moisture (specimens kept in plastic bags on 
a warm day rapidly become a slimy mess). 

While the specimen is fresh, write notes 
on its colour and odour, whether a latex is 
exuded from a cut surface, and whether the 
spec -mien changes colour when either cut 
or bruised (press your linger firmly on the 
surface, but do not rub; if no immediate 
Colour change occurs, recheck the speci- 
men in 10 minutes). I he dale, locality 
(including map reference or lalitude-longi 
Hide), collector, associated plants and am 
interesting Site information should be 
ftOted. A large number of new species and 
genera of truffles have been found in 
Australia in the last few sears ami many 
nunc arc likely to be encountered. 
Collections without locality, date and com 
piehensive notes made at the lime of col- 
lection ma> be interesting but are of little 
value for increasing our knowledge of truf- 
fle distributions or diversity. Description 
of characters made while the truffle is 
fresh are important in the identification oi' 
specimens, and will greatly enhance the 
value of a collection if it becomes the t\ pc 
ol a new species. I ach specimen should be 

sliced in hall vertically, through the centre; 
most specimens will have an apparent 
point of attachment, so use this to decide 
where to cut. Many species resemble each 
other on Ihe surface but differ in the interi- 
or. Truffles also resemble seed pods, dried 
chewing gum, clods of dirt, pebbles, and 
mushroom buttons. Slicing the specimen in 
half will allow you to confirm thai the col- 
lection is at least fungal! For several rea- 
smis, well-dried specimens are more useful 
and easier to maintain than those preserved 
in liquid. Specimens in good condition can 
he stored in the fridge for several days if 
necessary. A food dryer or dehydralor set 
at 30°C works well to air dry specimens. 


We have little knowledge of the potential 
rarity of truffles. The lack of collections 

from many habitats and regions in Victoria 
and other parts of Australia is a problem 
that needs to be addressed. In Ihe case k>{ 
truffles this is further exacerbated by the 
general difficulty in collecting specimens. 
Ihe high likelihood of finding new species 
and possibly genera, and the difficulties of 
collecting, makes the search for truffles an 
exciting, interesting, and sometimes frus- 
trating endeavour. I hope to address the 
lack of readily available keys and other 
identification tools for the truffles o\' 
Australia b\ writing various articles in the 
lustra las Ian Mycologists The Victorian 
Naturcihst and other journals, and also pro- 
viding a guide lo the truffles of eastern 
Australia in the next lew years. 

//i'm// w/v inn-i-fshJ in finding <>m mwe ithaut 
citlhc/jng ortd identifying truffles, Of helping 
with ongoing research, please contaci the 



Bntigher, n.i ami I ebak I (in press) Sequestrate 
(truffle-like) fungi of Australia and New Zealand. 
Uwtnriian Systematic Botany 

Kniiuiivit. M,. Boughcr. N.I .. IVII, B„ Grove, r and 
Mal.iK/iik, N (1906) 'Working with mycorrhixas in 
imvsiiY ami agriculture'. ACIAR Monograph 12. 
(CSIRo. Melbourne.) 

Uniiis, i.i)., Kogel, R., Whiio. r.J. ami Palmer, J D 
09S9), Accelerated evolution of a faJsc-trufFte from 
a mushroom ancestor. Wsttov 339, 140*142. 

t ask-Hano M.A., Twppe, J.M., M.isoi, /. and Maset, 
(' (19S9) 'Kej to spores of the genera «>t Uypogeous 
fungi "! Nurth tcmpt-raii' Forests wiih special refer- 
ence d> animal mycophfigy*, (Mail River Press; 

i mvka, California ) 
Claridge, A \\ CaattJlano, M A ami Oappe, J.M. 
i i' ,l, t>) Fungi -is a Food resource fot mammals in 


Hie Victorian Naturalist 


Australia, Fungi of Australia IB, 239-268. 

Claridge. A.W., Cork. S.J. and Trappe, J.M. (2000a). 
Diversity and habitat relationships of hypogeous fungi. 
I. Study design, sampling techniques and general sur- 
vey results. Biodiversity and < 'onservation% 151-173. 

Claridge. A.W., Barry. S.C., Cork, S.J. and Trappe, 
J.M. (2000b). Diversity and habitat relationships of 
hypogeous fungi. II. Factors influencing the occur- 
rence and number of ta\a. Biodiversity and 
Conservation. 9, 175-199. 

Claridge. A.W. and May. T.W. (1994). A review of 
mvcophagy in Australian mammals. Australian 
Journal oj Ecology 19, 25 1-275. 

Colgan. W. Ill, Carey. A.B, and Thysell, D.I , (1999). 
Diversity and productivity of hypogeous fungal 
SpOTOCarps in a variably thinned Douglas-fir forest. 
Canadian Journal of Forest Research 29, 1 259- 1 265. 

Hall. !., Buchanan. P.K.. Yun, W. and Cole, A.I J 
(1998). 'Edible and poisonous mushrooms: an intro- 
duction/ New Zealand Institute for Crop and food 
Research Limited. (The Caxton Press: Christehurch.) 

Maries, J. I., and Smith, S.I . (1983). 'Mycorrhizal 

Symbiosis". (Academic Press: London). 
Kalolas, A.C. (1996). Aboriginal knowledge and use of 

fungi. Fungi of Australia IB, 269-298. 

Kendrick, B. (1992). ' The Fifth Kingdom'. 2nd I dn. 
(Myeologue Publications: Ontario.) 

Lebel, T. (1998). Taxonomie Revision o\' the 
Sequestrate Relatives of Russitla from Australia and 
New Zealand. (PhD. i hesis. Dept. of Bolanv and 
Plant Pathology, Oregon Slate University, Corvallis, 
Oregon, USA.)' 

Maser. C, frappe, J.M. and Nussbaum, R.A. (197S). 
1 ungal-small mammal interrelationships with empha- 
sis on Oregon coniferous forests. Ecology 59, 799-809. 

frappe, J.M. (1979), The orders, families and genera of 
hypogeous Ascomvcotina (truffles and their rela- 
tives). Mycotaxon 9, 297-340. 

Trappe. J.M. and Castellano, M.\. (1991). Keys to the 
genera of truffles ( Asconneetes). Mellvasnea 10, 47- 

Rules for Hun ting Truffles 

(a) always seek the landowners 1 permission 

(b) obtain a permit to collect if required (cheek if you are not sure) 

(c) be careful that you do not disturb the root systems of associated plants 

(d) replace all disturbed soil and leaf litter 

(e) always wash your truffle-fork with water or a weak bleach solution it" 
you are truffling in different areas (this will help reduce the spread of 
pathogenic fungi) 

The Inaugural Australian Ornithological Conference 

Charles Sturt University 

Bathurst NSW Australia 

4-7 December 2001 

The conference will span three full clays and feature topical symposia, poster sessions, 
workshops and round-table discussions in addition to regular contributed paper sessions. 

Professor Allen Keast will give the keynote address on 
'Adaptations of birds to an arid continent". 

Enquiries to: AOC 2001 Conference Secretariat 

Conference Solutions 

PO Box 238 

Dcakin West ACT 2600 

Phone: 02 6285 3000 Fax: 02 6285 3001 

Visit the web at 

Vol. 118(2)2001 



Notes on Fungimap Target Species 

Tom May 1 


Fungimap is a mapping scheme which 
records distribution and ecological infor- 
mation for 100 distinctive species of 
Australian fungi (sec http://calcite.apana. Many of the target 
species arc illustrated in Fuhrcr (1993) and 
Rougher and Syme (1998), and in other 
field guides or sources such as the Fungi of 
Australia series (vols 1A and IB) and the 
'Australian Cryptogams 1 calendars pro- 
duced by Judith C'urnow and Heino l.epp. 
Indeed, many of the target species were 
chosen because they were relatively com- 
mon, and good illustrations were already 

Most target species have turned out to 
have broad distributions, often occurring in 
eastern and south-western Australia, or 
else widely through the interior. Some tar- 
gets, however, were selected because they 
were thought to be rare or restricted in dis- 
tribution, with the hope that Fungimap 
records could confirm this status, and lead 
to listing of species on state and common- 
wealth endangered species schedules. Fven 
a lack of records would be useful, since, in 
comparison to the many hundreds of 
records of each common species, this 
would show that the species were indeed 
rare. Unfortunately, most of the rarer 
species were not illustrated in the popular 
mycological literature, so a lack of records 
could be due to recorders not being famil- 
iar with the species. Inclusion of a colour 
section to this issue of The Victorian 
Naturalist provides the opportunity to 
illustrate some of the rarer or more unusual 
target species (some for the first lime in 
colour), as well as a few common species 
that have been omitted from recent Held 
guides. Species which seem particularly 
rare are; Banksiamyccs macrocarpu\, 
( 'ratcn'iius cvmucopioides, Hypocrcopsis 
sp., Nyctalh mirabilis and Rozites roseo- 

Royaj Botanic Gardens Melbourne, Birdwood Ave 
South Yarra, Victoria 3141. 

Target species 

There are few blue fungi, and none with 
the tone and richness of colour of 
Entoloma vircscens (front cover), whose 
conical cap (to 50 mm diani.) and stem are 
uniformly an intense sky blue. 

Cymatodertna elegerns (Plate 3 A) is a 
large (up to 30 cm diam.), stalked fungus 
which grows on wood, with the spores pro- 
duced on the smooth or shallowly-ridged 
underside of the funnel-shaped cap. 

The black cups oiPtcctania catnpylospo- 
ra (Plate 3B) are up to 50 mm in diameter, 
and are found on fallen wood. 

The stalked pinkish or pinkish brown 
globular heads of Vibrissca dura (Plate 3C) 
occur on fallen wood. Some slime moulds 
produce stalked globular spore masses, but 
these are usually smaller on thinner stalks, 
and arc soft and easily crushed. In V. dura 
the head is up to 7 mm diam. and the fruit 
body is up to 30 mm high. 

Nyctalis mirabilis (Plate 4A) is a gilled 
fungus which produces fruit bodies upon 
the fruit bodies of members of the 
Kussulaceae (probably species of Russitla). 
The cap is up to 30 mm diam. This is 
Australia's only 'toadstool upon a toad- 
stool'. Known only from a few sites in 
Cool Temperate Rainforest in Victoria and 
in Tasmania. 

Ping-pong bats is an apt common name 
for the diminutive Dictyopanus pusiilus 
(Plate 4B). This is a common species 
which grows ov\ wood, often occurring in 
massed colonies. Caps are about 5 mm 
broad. Although pored, it is closely related 
to the gilled Pcmellus sfypticus. 

Among the stalked puffballs, Battarraca 
stevenii (Plate 4C) is distinguished b\ the 
cap which falls to the ground when the 
orange-brown spore mass matures. The 
weathered slalk (up to 35 cm high) resem- 
bles a stick from a paperhark. 

One of the rarest fungi in Australia is an 
undescribed species of Hypocrcopsis 
(Plate 41)) found at a few near-coastal sites 
on the Morninglon Peninsula and west 
Gippsland. The lobed, brown fruit bodv 


The V ictorian Naturalist 


clasps branches. The fruit bodies are up to 
60 mm across, with individual lobes about 
2 mm broad. 

Anthurus archeri (Plate 5A) is often eon- 
fused with the similarly-hued (and mal- 
odorous) Aseroc rubra, which has bifid 
arms. The illustrated Anthurus is interesting 
in having one (only) of the arms branched. 
Arms van from 30 to 70 mm long. 

Compared to the common Culostouiti 
fuscum, ihe rainforest- loving Colostoma 
rodwayl (Plate 5B) is smaller and the outer 
layer does not fall away as a whole cap. 
but remains as scattered gelatinous scales, 
and sometimes as a shield peeling away 
around the scarlet mouth. The peridium in 
C, Juscum is up to 30 mm diam., whereas 
in C, rodwuyi il is no more than about 10 
mm diam. 

The deadlv Death Cap Amanita phut- 
hides (Plate 6A) is an unwelcome immi- 
grant- \\nmo\ under exotic oaks, and invad- 
ing native N&i ho fagus i'o rests. 
Distinguished b\ the yellowish or greenish 
caps (to 10 cm diam.) and the volva (mem- 
branous cup) at the base of the stem. 

The several species of the genus Razftes 
occurring in Australia differ from 
Cartitwrius in the possession of a membra- 
nous ring. Roz'ttcs roseolilavina (Plate 6B) 
has a dry. pinkish mauve cap (to II cm 
diam.). It is a ver\ rare species in Victoria 
(known onlv from the Grampians), and is 
known otherwise from a few sites in 
I asmania. 

The stalked cup-fungus Aleuria rhenana 
(back cover A) is not a current target 
species, but is included to allow compari- 
son against the similarly coloured 
Cookeina tricholomu. The latter grows on 
wood in tropical areas, and has a fringe of 
inn j hairs around the margin oi the cup. i 
rhenana is up to 25 mm diam. and C tri- 
choloma reaches 20 mm diam. 

The Crinoline Fungus Dktyophora hulu- 
siata (back cover Hi has a yellow cap, ini- 

tially covered with the slimy spore mass, 
and a white, lacv frill. The fruit body is up 
to 20 cm tali. 

Banksiumyces are found only on Bunksiu. 
The relatively large discs (to 25 mm 
across) of Banksiumyces macrocarpus 
(hack cover C) are known only from 
Bunksiu spii/u/osu. 

Preferring Cool Temperate Rainforest, 
Cratcrcllus comucopiohies (back cover 
D) produces clusters of vase-shaped fruit 
bodies, with spores produced ov\ the dark 
exterior surface of the L vase\ Individual 
fruit bodies are up to 60 mm high. 

Fungimap CD-ROM 

A CD-ROM compendium o\' the 
Fungimap target species will be available 
in April 2001. The CD-ROM contains 
numerous photographs (including many o\' 
those shown here), along with maps of all 
species, for many oi' the target species, 
multiple illustrations are provided, to show 
variation and changes during development. 
All text and photos for the CD-ROM. and 
the considerable lime of Ian Bell in design 
and programming, have been donated. The 
CD-ROM will be updated, and expanded 
to include further targets. Further photos 
are always welcome. 

Acknovv IctlgciiK'iils 

Merilyn Gre> and \nne Morton suggested thai 
additional fungi illustrations be included, and 
are thanked for their encouragemenl and assis- 
tance, Special thanks arc due to the photogra- 
phers who provided the illustrations: lima Dunn. 
Bruce Fuhref, Sheila Houghton, Virgil 
llubrcgtsc. Pal Jordan, Ian McCann, Margery 
Smith and Annckc \ eenstra-Quah, 


Bougher, N.I and Syme, k. (1998) L l ungi oj 

Southern Australia' (l ruversitj &1 Western Australia 

iV'v.: Nedlands), 
I uhrcr, It. (1993). A 1 ield ( ompanion to ^ujtralran 

! ungi*. Revised edn. (The Field Naturalists Club of 

Victoria: Melbourne I, 

Fungimap Inaugural National Conference 

22-26 e2001 

Denmark, Western \maralia 

1 he I unginiap conference is aimed at I ungimap volunteers, mam of whom are relative^ new to the 

study of fungi, [here will he field trips In ancient cucafspt foiesls, coastal liealh and woodlands. 

Workshop will be held on nunc fungi keys, Fungi identification, documentation, preservation and 
■uor mi ■■' [ungi foi regional and slate herbaria and conducting survej s of fungi 
Enquiries to 1 unginiap ( onference, Denmark Bnvironmenl Centre, l J ( > Box 142, Denmark \\ A 633 J 
Phone08 9848 f 644 day. 08 9845 1293 ah email 

Vol. 118(2)2001 


Research Report 

The Impact of Dieback Disease {Phytophthora cinnamomi) on 

Vegetation Near Mt Stapylton in the Northern Grampians 

National Park, Western Victoria 

Julian Di Stefano 1 


Phytophthora cinnamomi Rands is a soil borne pathogen that leads to the decline of many plant 
species across Australia. In this study, presence, cover-abundance and health were recorded lor plant 
species within healthy, transitional and diseased zones in a dry sclerophyll forest near Mt. Staplyton 
in the north western section of the Grampians National Park, western Victoria. The data were sub- 
jected to non-metric multidimensional scaling (NMDS) analysis, and a change in the distribution and 
abundance of plant species between healthy, transitional and diseased zones was observed. A 
seed/fungus test using susceptible Lupinus alba seedlings was performed, and the results are consis- 
tent with the hypothesis that P. cinnamomi caused the dieback observed at the study site. The vegeta- 
tion changes observed represent a transition from healthy Eucalyptus baxteri forest with a low 
heathy understorey to a more open forest with many dead trees and an increased number of sedge 
and grass species. This transition is expressed as a reduction in biodiversity, density and plant health 
within diseased and transitional zones, although no effect on vegetative cover was detected. Options 
for the management of P. cinnamomi are also discussed. (The Victorian Naturalist 118 (2), 2001, 46-55.) 


Plant pathogens are an established part of 
plant communities world-wide. In many 
regions, they play an important role in the 
patterns and processes of change that occur 
within forest ecosystems (Castello et al. 
1995). However, in some forest ecosys- 
tems, plant pathogens may have a destruc- 
tive impact. This is the case in Australia, 
where the fungus Phytophthora cinnamomi 
Rands has caused significant ecological 
damage since its introduction in the early 
part of the nineteenth century (Bridgewater 
and Edgar 1994; Barker et al 1996). Over 
time, infection by P. cinnamomi may result 
in significant changes in the structure and 
function of forest floral communities 
(Wills 1993; Wills and Keighery 1994) as 
well as affecting the distribution and abun- 
dance of both vertebrate (Wilson et a!. 
1990; Wilson et al. 1994; Newell 1998) 
and invertebrate (Postle et al. 1986; 
Newell 1997) fauna. 

P. cinnamomi is a soil-borne fungus 
belonging to the class Oomycota. It exists 
in the form of mycelium or chlamy- 
dosporcs in root and decaying plant tissue 
(Dell and Malajczuk 1989"). Both soil tem- 
perature and soil moisture limit the distrib- 
ution and abundance of P. cinnamomi. 
Optimum soil temperatures for pathogenic 

Forest Science Centre, Water Street. Creswick, 
Victoria 3363. 

activity are between 22°C and 27°C\ 
although infection still occurs in soils 
warmer than 14°C (Dell and Malajczuk 
1989). Barker et al, (1996) suggest that in 
Tasmania, the severity of pathogenic activ- 
ity is reduced in regions receiving less than 
600 mm of rainfall per year. Dispersal 
occurs when zoospores are transported by 
laterally moving subsurface water, 
although surface runoff also has dispersal 
potential (Kinal et al. 1993). Dispersal is 
also enhanced by human activities. 
Transportation of infected soil (for road 
construction, for example), has led to the 
introduction of P. cinnamomi to previously 
unaffected areas (Wills 1993). 

In the Grampians National Park, western 
Victoria, areas infected by P. cinnamomi 
were first observed in the early 1970s 
(Kennedy and Weste 1986). More recently, 
a new section of forest displaying charac- 
teristics consistent with P. cinnamomi 
infection has been identified within the 
park, and this area provided the site for the 
current study. The major objective of the 
present study is to identify patterns of veg- 
etation change between healthy and infect- 
ed regions. A secondary objective is to dis- 
cuss the suitability of current and proposed 
management strategies for controlling P. 
cinnamomi in native forest areas. 


The Victorian Naturalist 

Research Report 


* MolU,. 

n i 3. 

..[. Uttaarcb) K«.« 




II.IK(.« f Hii 

Fig. 1. Study site (a) and experimental design 
(h). In the experimental design diagram circles 
represent plots. The area adjacent to the drainage 
line appeared to he infected by Phytopkthora 

Study Area 

Hi is study was conducted in the 
Grampians National Park, western 
Victoria. Phe National Park covers 
167 000 ha and is noted for the diversity 
and abundance of flora within it (Kennedy 
and VVeste 1986). 

The study site is near Mt. Stapylton in the 
north-west region of the National Park (Fig. 
la). The region receives around 645 mm of 
rainfall annually, most of which falls in 
winter, and is characterised by skeletal, 
sandy soil with rocky shallow podzols 
(Sibley 1%7). Surrounding healthy vegeta- 
tion is dominated by Eucalyptus haxtcri, 
with a low heathy understorey. Sandstone 
and mudstone cliffs rise up to the north east 
of the site. I he site has an elevation o\~ 190- 
200 in and is on a gentle slope (gradient < 
5") with a westerly aspect. The site has a 
drainage line running through its centre 
and the strip of forest parallel to the 

drainage line was believed to be infected 
by P. cinnamomh as dead and dying E. 
haxtcri trees were evident. 

Field Work 

The sampling program followed a ran- 
dom-sited systematic design. Patterns of 
vegetation change were investigated by 
recording the presence, cover-abundance 
and health of plant species in healthy, tran- 
sitional and diseased zones. Each zone was 
divided into two sub-zones, both contain- 
ing four circular 100 nv plots, with 25 
metres separating the centre of each plot 
(Fig. lb). Vegetation cover was measured 
using the semi-quantitative Braun- 
Blanquel cover-abundance scale (Mueller* 
Do m bo IS and I'llenberg 1974). Species 
health was measured using a forest health 
index with a scale between one (healthy) 
and five (dead). 

Laboratory Work 

Pre germinated Lupin seedlings (tupinus 
Lilhti, known to be sensitive to P. ciniiamomi) 
were grown in soil samples from the Held in 
order to confirm the presence of a soil 
pathogen at Uie study site. Seeds were grown 
lor three weeks in clear plastic, gau/e covered 
containers containing a soil slurry made from 
50 g of soil and 100 ml of distilled water. 
1 OUT seedlings were grown in every contain- 
er. Twenty lour containers were used, one for 
each plot. Alter one week and three weeks, 
seedlings in each container were identified as 
being either healthy, unhealthy or dead. 
Healthy, unhealthy and dead seedlings were 
identified visually. 

Data Analysis 

Unstandardised semi-quantitative lloris- 
tic data were used to determine the ecolog- 
ical distance between plots by using the 
Bray-Curtis dissimilarity coefficient- The 
resulting matrix was subjected to non-met- 
ric multidimensional scaling (NMDS) 
analysis as described by Kent and Coker 
( 1002) using the DECODA software pack- 
age (Minchin 1987). Species that were pre- 
sent in only one plot were excluded from 
the analysis, as they distorted results by 
making plots unique. Analysis was per- 
formed in one to three dimensions, from 
ten random starts. The two dimensional 
solution (stress 0.15) was chosen, as 
additional dimensions did not provide sig- 

Vol. 118(2)2001 


Research Report 

nificantly more ecological information. 

Null hypotheses about the number of 
healthy L, alba seedlings three weeks after 
sowing, mean species richness per plot and 
mean cover per plot were tested using the 
general analysis of variance (ANOVAJ 
procedure in GENSTAT. All null hypothe- 
ses predicted that variables would not differ 
between healthy, transitional and diseased 
zones. Where necessary, post-hoc tests 
were conducted using the Least Significant 
Difference method (a = 0.05), All data 
were tested for normality and homogeneity 
of variance using graphical methods. 


Seed/fungus Test 

Lup'mus alba seedlings were all healthy 
after one week of growth. After three weeks, 
the number of healthy seedlings growing in 
soil from different zones was found to differ 
significantly F (2, 69) = 48.94, P = < 0.001. 
Subsequent post-hoc tests revealed that a 
significant difference between the number of 
healthy seedlings existed between all three 
zones. As expected, the greatest number of 
healthy seedlings were found growing in soil 
from the healthy zone and the smallest num- 
ber of healthy seedlings were found growing 

Healthy Zone b Transitional Zone a Diseased Zone 
















1 ■ 












0,2 3 

A 5 0.6 
NMDS Axis 1 

07 0.8 

Fig. 2. NMDS ordination of vegetation data. 

in soil from the diseased zone. These 
results are consistent with the hypothesis 
that the diseased zone is infected with P. 
c'mnamoml, as L. alba seedlings are know r n 
to be susceptible to this fungus. 

NMDS Ordination 

The NMDS ordination (Fig. 2) shows that 
the data from healthy, transitional and dis- 
eased zones are separated most significantly 
along Axis 1. The substantial separation 
between healthy and diseased plots that can 
be observed along this axis suggests that 
there is a discernible difference in the struc- 
ture of the vegetation between healthy and 
diseased zones. 

Floristic Data 

A complete list of the families (n = 25) 
and species (n = 73) within the whole 
study site can be found in Table 1. Table I 
also shows the frequency with which each 
species was found in the healthy, transi- 
tional and diseased zones, and the response 
of each plant species to P. cinnamomi. 
Species have been grouped into three 
response types on the basis of their fre- 
quency in each zone: 

(a) Susceptible - species that existed in 
. the healthy zone and were 

rare or absent in transitional 

and diseased zones. 

(b) Resistant - species that 
were absent or rare in the 
healthy zone but relatively 
common in the transitional 
and diseased zones. 

(c) Fluctuating - species that 
retained similar levels of 
cover and abundance within 
each zone. 

Family Richness 

The number of species within 
major families is displayed in 
Fig. 3. Major families were 
defined as those containing at 
least two species in at least one 
of the three zones. These data 
show that most major families 
( 1 I of 1 3) are represented in all 
three zones. Moreover, the 
number of major families repre- 
sented in each zone changes lit- 
tle, with healthy, transitional 
and diseased zones containing 


The Victorian Naturalist 

Research Report 







Fig. 3. Plant families that contain two or more species in at least one of the healthy, transitional or 
diseased /ones at the stud\ site. 

12, 12 and 13 different families respective- 
ly. Nevertheless, the number of species 
within some families (especially 
Hpacridaceae, Proteaceae and Fabaceae) is 
much higher in the healthy zone than in the 
diseased zone. 

Species Richness and Cover 

Anal> sis of variance showed thai the 
number of species per plot differed signifi- 
cantlv between healthy, transitional and 
diseased zones: F (2, 21) - 20.65, P < 
0.001. Post-hoc tests showed that the num- 
ber of species per plot in the healthy zone 
was significantly higher than the number of 
species per plot in the transitional and dis- 
eased zones, bul that there was no differ- 
ence in the number of species per plot 
between the latter two zones. In addition, 
the total number of species observed was 
higher in healthy zones (55 species) than in 
transitional (46 species) or diseased (50 
species) zones. Cover (measured as mean 
cover per plot) was not found to be signifi- 
cantly different between zones. 

Responses of Individual Species to P. 

General trends of vegetation change may 
disguise fluctuations occurring at the 
species level. Figs 4 and 5 show how the 
mean cover scores of eight different 

species changed between healthy, transi- 
tional and diseased zones. 

In fig. 4, the mean cover scores for two 
fluctuating species, Leptosperntum myrsi- 
noides and Lepidobztlus drapetfcoleus, 
remain relative!) unchanged throughout 
the three zones. Although the cover score 
for L. mvrsinoides fell in the diseased 
zone, the level of cover was still relatively 
high (cover = 1.25). The responses of three 
susceptible species, E. haxteri, 
Xarttkorrhoea ctustralis and tsopogon cer- 
atpphyllus are also shown in Fig. 4. It is 
clear that their cover is much higher in the 
healthy zone than in the transitional and 
diseased zones. In contrast, Fig. 5 shows 
the responses of three resistant species, 
Hypolaena fastigiata, ffakea rostrata and 
Lepidosperrna laterals. These species 
show a clear trend of higher cover in the 
transitional and diseased zones. 


The NMDS ordination shows that the veg- 
etation structure within the study site is het- 
erogeneous. Based on the presence, cover- 
abundance and health data used in the analy- 
sis, vegetation structure differed between 
healthy, transitional and diseased zones, 
with the largest difference being between 
healthy and diseased zones (Fig. 2). 

Vol. 118(2)2001 


Research Report 

Tabic 1. A complete list of families and species found within healthy, transitional and diseased 
zones. The numbers in this table represent the frequency with which a species was identified in a 
particular zone (maximum frequency = 8). The last column, Species Status, indicates whether the 
species is susceptible to P. cinnamomi (S), resistant (R) or fluctuating (F) based on the frequency 
data collected in this study. The '?' represents a lack of data and * denotes species that were prolific, 
but very unhealthy, in the diseased zone. 

Families and Species 

Common Names 1 











I lydrocotyie spp. 






Helichrysum baxteri 

White Bverlasting 




( \tsitarinu muellerana 

Slaty She-oak 



C. paludosa 

Scrub She-oak 






Hibbertia fasciculate 

Bundled Guinea-flower 





H. sericea 

Silky Guinea-flower 



//. striata 

Erect Guinea-flower 





II. virgata 

Twiggy Guinea-flower 




Drosera whittakeri 

Scented Sundew 




Astroloma conostephoides 

Flame Heath 




.1. Inmiifusum 

Cranberry 1 loath 



A. pin (folium 

Pine Heath 




Brachyloma daphnoides 

Daphne Heath 




Epacris impressa 

Common Heath 




LeucopQgon ericoides 

Pink Beard-heath 



L. glaciaiis 

Twisted Beard-heath 





/.. rujits 

Ruddy Beard-heath 



L. virgatits 

Common Beard-heath 





Monotoca scoparia 

Prickly Broom-heath 





Phyllcmthus hirtellus 

Thyme Spurge 






Daviesia brevifolia 

Leafless Bitter-pea 



Dfflwynia glaberrima 

Smooth Parrot-pea 





l). sericea 

Showy Parrot-pea 





I fovea heterophylla 

Common Hovea 



Ph) iotta pleurandroides 

Heathy Phylotta 



Platylobium obtusangulum 

Common Flat-pea 





Pultenuea spp. 

Bush Peas 






Dampiera ianeeolaia 

Groved Dampiera 



Goodenia geniculata 

Bent Goodenia 






Cassytha glabella 

Slender Dodder-laurel 





C '. puhescens 

Downy Dodder-laurel 






Acacia longifolia 

Sallow Wattle 



A, milcheiiii 

Mitchell's Wattle 




A. my/ii folia 

Myrtle Wattle 



A. pyenantha 

Golden Wattle 





A. ulicifolia 

Heath Wattle 






Calyirix fetragona 






Eucal) 'plus baxteri * 

Brown Stringybark 





Leptosperuium juniperinitni 

Prickly Tea-tree 




L. myrsinoides 

Heath Tea-tree 





L. nitidum 

Shiny Tea-tree 



Tiwyptomene calyeina 

Grampians Thryptomene 






The Victorian Naturalist 

Research Report 

Table 1. Continued. 

Families and Species 

Common Names H< 










Banksia marginata 

Silver Banksia 




Grevillea alp'ma 

Mountain Grevillea 



G aqitifotium 

Variable Prickly Grevillea 8 




Hakea decurrens 

Bushy Needlewood 





H. rostrata 

Beaked Hakea 





Isopogon ceratophyllus 

Horny Cone-bush 




Pcrsoonia jitniperina 

Prickly Geebung 




Correa reflex a 

Common Correa 






Dodonaea cimeata 

Wedge-leaf Hop-bush 





Lasiopetcdum macrophyllum 

Shrubby Velvet-bush 




Stytidium soboliferum 

Grampians Trigger-plant 






Tetraiheca ciliata 

Pink Bells 






Caleciasea cyaneu 

Blue Tinsel-lily 




Caustis pentemdra 

Thick Twist-rush 





Guhnia radala 

Thatch Saw-sedge 





Lepidosperma ti liforme 

Common Rapier-sedge 



L. laterale 

Variable Sword-sedge 



Lepidosperma spp. 





Schoenus apogon 

Common Bog-sedge 





Schoerms spp. 





Juncus spp. 





Ampkipogon si rictus 

Grey-beard Grass 




Poa spp. 

Other Grasses 



Stipu spp. 

Spear Grasses 






HypoUiena fastigiata 

Tassel Rope-rush 





Lepidobulus drapeticoleus 







Lomandra fdiformis 

Wattle Mat-rush 



t. glauca 

Pale Mat-rush 





Lomandra spp. 




Xanthorrhoea australis* 

Austral Grass-tree 







Ca/iitris rhamboidea 

Oyster Bay Pine 





Moreover, the results of the seed/fungus 
test are consistent with the hypothesis that 
P. cinnamomi was the cause of the 
observed differences. It is. however, 
important to note that P. cinnamomi was 
not isolated in this study, and the results o\" 
the seed/fungus test may have been due to 
other fungal species. Nevertheless, the 
remainder of this discussion will proceed 
under the assumption that dieback noted at 
the Study site was due to P. cinnamomi. 

Vegetation Changes 

Changes to vegetation structure at the 
community level involved the transition 
from E. baxteri forest with a low heathy 
underslorey in the healthy /one, to a more 
open forest with many dead trees and an 
increased number of sedge and grass 
species in the diseased /one. This transi- 
tion represents a substantial alteration in 
community structure, with a significant 
reduction in species richness. Other studies 

Vol. 118(2)2001 


Research Report 



5, . 




Leptospermwbi myrsinoides 

Xanthorrhoea australi: 

Lepidobulus drap'et icoleus^ m — 

Isopoeon cefataphyllus 

Healthy Zone 

Transitional Zone 

Diseased Zone 

Fig. 4. An example of how ihc presence of P, cinnamomi affects the degree of cover of susceptible 
species (solid line) and fluctuating species (dashed line) within healthy, transitional and diseased /ones. 
Susceptible and fluctuating species were defined on the basis of their frequency within each zone. 


■3 1.5 




^r ^*** m *^ mm tHypolaeruzfastigiata 

J^^Hakea rostrata 

. , 

^^ 0000 0<^ 000 \Lepidosperma laterale 

Healthy Zone 

Transitional Zone 

Diseased Zone 

Fig, 5. An example of how the presence o\' P. cinnamomi affects the degree of cover of resistant 
plant species within healthy, transitional and diseased /ones. Susceptible and fluctuating species 
were de lined on the basis of their frequency within each /one. 

(e.g. Duncan and Keane 1996) have also 
found changes to community structure 
resulting from P. cinnamomi infection to 
be substantial. 

The response oi^ vegetation to the pres- 
ence o\' P. cinnamomi has been similarly 
described by Kennedy and Weste (1977, 
1986) and Weste and Kennedy (1997) at 
other sites within the Grampians National 
Park. In the most recent study, these 

authors observed substantial changes in 
community structure without significant 
change in cover or (in contrast to the pre- 
sent study) species richness. Shearer 
(1994) also notes that P. cinnamomi can 
alter community structure within 
Eucalyptus marginata forest in Western 
Australia without a concurrent reduction in 
the number of species. Other studies from 
Western Australia, however, have suggest- 


The Victorian Naturalist 

Research Report 

ed that species richness is reduced in areas 
infected with P. einnamomi. In Banksia 
woodlands on the Swan Coastal Plain, 
Shearer and Dillon (1996) observed that. 
on average, diseased zones had seven 
fewer species than healthy zones. In this 
respect, the findings of the present study 
are similar. The results show that health) 
areas accommodate more species than 
transitional or diseased areas. 

Susceptible, Resistant and Fluctuating 


All references to susceptible, resistant and 
fluctuating species in this Study arc based 
on the frequency of their occurrence in each 
zone (see Table I ). On the basis of this 
somewhat subjective analysis Monotocd 
scoparia, £ haxteri. X austvalis and / cer- 
atophylhts provide examples of susceptible 
species, the susceptibility of all of these 
species has been previously recorded in the 
Grampians (Kenned) and Weste 1986; 
Wcste and Kenned> 1997) and the latter 
two in the Brisbane Ranges National Park 
(Wcste 1986). A', australis has also been 
identified as susceptible in Victoria's 
Kinglake National Park (Duncan and Kcane 
1996). Kennedy and Weste (I9S6) have 
identified nine other susceptible species that 
were present at the current study site; 
Tefratheca eiliata. Hovca hctcrophylla. 
Astroloma eonostephoides. llibhcrfia faSCh 
eulata, Hihbertia stricla, Persoonia junipe- 
rina. Correct refle.xa. Leucopogon erieoides 
and Leucopogon virgatus, All of these 
species were identified as susceptible in the 
present study, with the exception of H, 
striata, which showed a resistant trend. 

HypolaenQ fastigiata, L. laterale and 
Lt'ptospermum jwiiperinum and //. rostra- 
la exemplified resistant species. In the 
Grampians, Kennedy and Weste (1986) 
also identified //. fastigiata and t. juniper- 
inum as resistant, while the abundance of 
L. laterale has been observed to increase 
within diseased zones at Kinglake National 
Park (Duncan and Kcane 1996). Gahnia 
radukr a species also identified as resistant 
in this area (Duncan and Keane 1996). as 
well as in the Brisbane Ranges (Weste 
1986). was not shown to be clearly resis- 
tant in this studs. Although its abundance 
was higher in the transitional zone than in 
the healthy zone, its abundance fell to the 

lowest level in the diseased zone. 

Fluctuating species identified in this 
study included L. myrsinoides, L. drapeti- 
eoleus and Grevillea aquifolium. In 
Victoria, L. myrsinoides has been widelv 
identified as a fluctuating species 
(Kennedy and Weste 1986; W'este 1986; 
Weste and Kennedy 1997). However, in 
the Grampians. Kennedy and Weste (1986) 
observed L. draper icoleus to be marginally 
LnvasiVe. Casuarina muellerana has also 
been identified as fluctuating in the 
Grampians National Park (Kennedy and 
Weste 1986). In this study, the density of 
C. muellerana was so low that its response 
to P. einnamomi Could not be identified. 

Regeneration of Susceptible Species 

The regeneration of seedlings of suscep- 
tible overstorey species (especiallv E, hax- 
teri) was observed in transitional and dis- 
eased zones. Regeneration of susceptible 
overstorey species at old diseased sites has 
also been observed in other parts of the 
Grampians (Weste and Kennedy 1997). 
Although susceptible understorev species 
were not noted to regenerate in this study, 
the regeneration of many susceptible 
understorev species has also been observed 
over the longer term, Nearly a decade after 
the establishment of their Grampians 
study, Kennedv and Weste (1986) 
observed that susceptible species had not 
regenerated at infected sites. Twenty years 
after establishment, however. 24 suscepti- 
ble understorev species from 1 I different 
families vvere found to be regenerating in 
old infested plots. I hese results have been 
corroborated in other parts of Victoria 
(Wcste 1986; Duncan and Keane 1996; 
Wcste et al. 1999) and Western Australia 
(Wills 1993; Shearer and Dillon 1996), 

It is likely that regeneration of suscepti- 
ble species in old infected areas may be a 
result of pathogenic decline (Wills 1993; 
Duncan and Keane 1996). Pathogenic 
decline may occur for a number of reasons, 
including changes in the distribution of P. 
einnamomi and a reduction in the amount 
of susceptible root tissue at infected sites. 
Regeneration of susceptible species may 
also occur if the potential of the pathogen 
to cause disease is reduced, due, for exam- 
ple, from increased resistance in some sus- 
ceptible species. Although specific factors 

Vol. 118(2)2001 


Research Report 

causing pathogenic decline may be diffi- 
cult to isolate, available evidence suggests 
that the impact of P. cinnamomi is reduced 
over time (Peters and Wesle 1997). 

Management of Phytophthora cinnamomi 
- a review 

The management of P. cinnamomi 
throughout Australia poses significant prob- 
lems, as there is no comprehensive solution 
to this disease (Dell and Malajc/uk 1989; 
Bridgewaler and Edgar 1994). At present, 
the major management strategies involve 
the isolation of diseased areas and the steril- 
isation of infrastructure moving in and out 
of diseased sites. These measures, however, 
are not expected to prevent the spread of the 
pathogen in the long term (Dell and 
Malajczuk 1989; Hill euil 1995), 

Investigations into alternative manage- 
ment practices are continuing. The use of 
potassium phosphonatc to control P. cin- 
namomi has been investigated in a number 
of recent publications. Short term green- 
house trials have shown thai potassium 
phosphonate can reduce the severity and 
incidence of disease in Finns radiant (AM 
el at. 1999) and a number of susceptible 
native species (Peters and Weste 1997; AM 
and Guest 1998). A Held study at Anglesea, 
Victoria, indicates that foliar phosphonate 

spray can help to control P cinnamomi in ""BelteVmanauementlf / 
lorest and healhland communities, although 
some species exhibited phytotoxic effects 
at high concentrations (Aberton el a! . 
1999}. In general, chemical treatment of 
infected regions may be an effective small 
scale management option if infected sites 
are identified early { Hill ct al. 1 995). 

An alternative to chemical treatment is the 
use of biological controls. Biological control 
ofP, cinnamomi involves the introduction o\' 
antagonistic soil micro-organisms into infect- 
ed regions. Suggested bio-control mecha- 
nisms include the use o\' bioenhanced 
mulches (Costa ei ai 1996) and the introduc- 
tion of cellulase producing organisms into 
infected regions (Hl-Tarabili el al. 1996), 
These strategies, however, are primarily 
directed at controlling Phytophthora species 
in fruit plantations, and are not appropriate 
for use in the Grampians as the structure and 
organic content of the soil is not conducive to 
the survival of populations of micro-organ- 
isms (Kennedy and Weste 1986). 

In the Grampians. Kennedy and Wesle 
(1986) suggest that fire may be an appro- 
priate management strategy. Severe fire 
kills P. cinnamomi in the top 20cm of soil 
(Weste 1974), and promotes regeneration 
in the fire adapted vegetation of the region. 
In addition. Kennedy and Wesle (1977) 
propose that public education could aid the 
management of P. cinnamomi. Peters and 
Wesle (1997) agree that education should 
be an important element of an effective 
management strategy. Informing people 
about P. cinnamomi, and the risk of 
spreading infection via vehicles and equip- 
ment may reduce its rate of spread in the 
Grampians National Park. 

Areas infected with P. cinnamomi are not 
uniformly distributed - they form a non- 
uniform mosaic of infected patches across 
the landscape (Weste and Kennedy 1997). 
Consequently, developing a detailed inven- 
tory of diseased regions (Shearer 1994) and 
the identification of healthy but susceptible 
micro regions (Kennedy and Weste 1986) 
may help to manage infected areas. Barker 
ei al. (1996) have developed an objective 
methodology for the selection of sites with a 
high management priority, and such objec- 
tive delineation of more and less important 
areas seems like a logical first step in the 
development of a management plan. 

cinnamomi in 
Australia requires the development of a 
national management plan. To this end. 
communication between management bod- 
ies in different parts of the country needs to 
be enhanced (Bridgewaler and Edgar 1994). 
However, the impact of P, cinnamomi in a 
particular region depends on potentially 
unique interactions between the pathogen 
and the surrounding ecosystem (Bridgewaler 
and Edgar 1994; Shearer 1994; Castello ct 
at. 1995; Shearer and Dillon 1996). The ear- 
lier discussion, for example, shows that the 
same species may respond differently to P. 
cinnamomi at different points in space and 
time. As a consequence, management strate- 
gies, although holistic in nature, must be 
flexible enough to deal with problems spe- 
cific to a particular region. This may require 
the use of different management strategies 
for diHerent regions, or the integrated use of 
a number of management techniques to con- 
trol /'. cinnamomi in a particular area. 


The Victorian Naturalist 

Research Report 


Thanks to Stuart Reeh. Jodi Braszel), Andrew 
Evans and others who helped with the Held 
work- Xeal Enwright provided assistance with 
the statistical analysis and Kylie McKenzie read 
and helped to Improve earlier drafts. Thanks 
also to two anonymous referees for improving 
thequalits of the final draft. 


Aheilon. MJ„ Wilson. B.A. and Cahill. D,M. (1999), 
The use ot" potassium phosphonate to control 
Phytophthora cinnamomi in active vegetation at 
Anglesea, Victoria. Australasian ['lam Patkatom 28. 

All, I. and Guest. D.I. (I'WSt. Potassium phosphonate 
controls root col m fottthatrfta a mistralh and X 
minor caused bj Phytophthora citifiam ■ 
Australasian Plant Pathohg\ 27. 10-44 

Mi, /.. Smith, I, And Guest, D.I. [1999). I I'tect ol 
potassium phosphonate on root rot ol Pinus radiata 
caused b\ Phytophthora cifinamomi. Australasian 
Plant Pathology 28, 120-125. 

Barker. P.CJ., Wardlaw, FJ. and Brown. M.,1 | "■ '■ 
Selection and design of Pkytophthora managemeni 
areas lor the conservation of threatened flora in 
Tasmania..'-:'.'- 1 cat i observation 76(2), 187-193- 

Bridge^atei. B.FV and Edgar, B. H994). Ecosystepi 
pat ho n i i. v. from the centre (east) Journal oj 
da- Royal Society oj Western twttrolia 77(4), 109- 

i i -Ho. J.D., I eopotd, D.J. and Smallidgc, P.J. 
i 1995). Pathogens, patterns and proi I i it forest 
ecosystems. BioScience 45( 1 1. 16- 14, 

I osta. If. da S.. \ienge. J. A. and Casale. W I (1996] 
Investigations on some of the mechanisms In which 
bioenhanced mulches can suppres Phytophthora 
root roi of avocado, Microbiologi al /';, s< -■■■ 
151(2), 183 192 

Dell. B_ and MaJajc/uk. V (1989), larrah d ( eback - a 
disease caused b\ Phytophthora cinnamomi. In 'The 
larrah I ores.1 - A Complex Mediterranean 

osystem,' pp. 67-S7. Eds B. Dell, J. J. Havel ... 
Malajc/uk. (KluWfiJ Academic Puhli-.hei 
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Duncan, M.J. and Kcane. P.J. (J996). Vegetation 
changes associated with Phytophthora i mom 
and its decline under Xanthorrhoea au&tral il 
Kmglaltc National Park, Victoi a lustrali m Journal 
ofBotartvAii I), 155-369, 

[l-Tarabili. k.A . Svkcs, M.I . knrthoke. I.D,. Hardy, 
(..I. St J,. Barbosa, A.M. and Dekker. Kill. (19%) 
Syne' i L|C .'I feels of a Ccllulasc -produi m, 

Mlcramanospora carhonacea and an anttbiotk pro 

ducing S/rc'pumi\ t'i i tiahst &tx on iln: suppres itoi ol 
PhytQpflthara cinnamomi root rot ol" Banks la 
grandis. Canadian Journal <>t Botany 74(4). 61 g ■■■ \ I 
Hill. I.C.J.. Tippett .1,1. and Shearer, B.L. [199 I 
Evaluation ot three treatments for the eradication ol 

■■■■' Ot l ■ rmutfi lOffli from d( ■ ■ . II ■' ! sunds 
in southwest Australia. Plant Disease 79(2). 122- 
Kennedy, J. and Weste, 0. ( J977). Dichack disease due 

to the cinnamon ftmgus in the Grampians. ' moria's 

19 >f g 

I.. I, mid Weste. 0. <i ( >Xb|. Vegetation Chang 
. iatfid with invasion by Phytophthora - wnttmtUKl 
on monitored sites in the ( nainpians. western 
Victoria- Australian Journal oj BotQn] 34, 25 ' 279. 

i ,1. and CokCf, !'- ( 1992). Vegetation Description 
and Analysis. A Practical Approach '. (Belhavcn 
Press: London.) 
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Dispersal of Pkytophthora cinnamomi through lat- 
eritic soils b> lateral Iv flowing subsurface water 
Plant Disease 77{ 1 1 >, IG85-I09G, 

Minchin, P.R. ['1987), An evaluation of the relative 
robustness of techniques for ecological ordination. 
Ve&tatia 69, n i >-!07. 

Mueller-Dombois. D. and flleuberg, II (! 1 174>. "Aims 
and Methods of Vegetation Ecology*. (Wiley: New 

Newell, R.G. i I*-)')?), the abundance of ground - 
dwelling invertebrates in u Victorian forest affected 
b> "dieback' {Phytophthora cfttnantomfy disease. 
Australian Journal of Ecology 12. 1Q6-2I7, 

Newel!. K.t.i. ( 1998). Characterization of vegetation in 
an Australian open forest community al'fected b) em 
namon fungus [Phytophthora cinnamomi)'. implica- 
lions for faunal habitat quality. Plant Ecology 137. 

Peters, D. and Weste. Q. (199?), 1 he impact of 
Phytophthora ■ mnamomi on six rare native tree and 
shrub species in the Brisbane Ranges, Victoria. 
Australian Journal oj 'Botany 45, 975-995. 

IV-'He U . M.iier. J.D. and Bell. D.I', (19S6). Soil 
and littei invertebrates and litter decomposition in 
-larrali [&ucafyptui margmata) fares* affected 
i itrah dieback fungus (Phytophthora eimmmwni). 
Pedob ',.""■.■ 2'' i "■' 

Shearer, B I 1 1994). Ihe major plant pathogens occur- 
ring m native ecosystems of soutii- western Australia. 
fottrnal ttj ih .■'■.'■■ ■ ' eft Sot h (} oj " estern lustralia 
77(4), I 13-122, 

Shearer, B.I , and Dillon, M_ (1996). Impact and dis- 
ease centre characteristics of Phytophthora cinnamo- 
mi infestations of Banks ia woodlands on the Swan 
I ...Htal Plain. Western \iisir;ih,i \ffltraliuf\ foutna) 

<>! Botany 44< 1 1. '9 % 

Sibley, GJ i 1967). \ ttudy oj the land in the 
Grampians at • a, pp. IS. I 9 t 40, 4 1 and Land 
S;, Jems Map in hack cover. (Soil Conservation 
Authority: Victoria.) 

■■ ■ ste, G. (1974). I'lntoptnliora cirpiamomi, the cause 
of severe disease in certain native communities in 
Victoria, lustralian hurnal o/Botam 22. 1-8. 

Weste,. ,; i (1 ■''-■' ■) '■. ■..■■'■. i,ii i . ■ii ■m.i:.-' I i .iv, in i.iii'il with 
invasion hv Phyi»phffi"/ a cinnamomi ol defined 
plots m the Brisbane Ranges, Victoria, 1975-1985 
i ,■ ■ ..'.■. //.--. .'.■ / Journal oj Botany 34. r>3^-(>48. 

■ G. and Kenned). J. (1997), Regeneration of 
susceptible native SpeciC5 following a decline of 
Phytophthofa clHHatftOtni over a period of 20 years 
on defined plots in the Grampians, western Victoria, 
iu&traiian Journal oj ffofawy W t loT-190. 

• ' ■ .' , (... Walchhuetiet. I and Waishe, T. (1999). 

Regeneration of Xanthorrhoea austral is following 
epidemic disease due to Pkytophthoro cinnamomi in 
the Brisbane Ranges. Victoria, iustralasian Plata 
Puthah& 28, E62-169, 

# Ills. R.i ( 1993). I bi & ologii i pact oi 

Phytophthora cinnamomi in the Stirling Range 
National Park, Western Vustralut tustrallajj Journal 
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C.R. and l.aidlavv. W'.S. ()990). I aetors affecting 
small mammal distribution and abundance in the 
■.: '-.'ii i)\w-.\\ Ranges. Victoria. Proceedings oj the 
Ecological Society oj (ustralta 16, S79-396. 

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(.. (1994). imp;iei oi' plum diseases on faunal com- 
rnunilies. Journal of the Rovai Society oj Western 
\ U nnhall. \ 19-143 

Vol. 118(2)2001 



Field Identification, Ecology and 

Conservation Status of the Red-chested Button-quail 

Turnix pyrrhothorax in Northern Victoria 

Lawrie E. Conole 1 and Ralph Mac Nally 1 - 

The Red-chesled Button-quail Turnix 
pyrrhothorax is classified as Vulnerable in 
Victoria (DNRE 2000). It is generally 
regarded as widespread, although uncom- 
mon (Pizzev and Knight 1997), in New- 
South Wales', Queensland (CYPLUS 1996) 
and the Northern Territory (PWCNT 
1999). In north-west Western Australia, 
O'Connor (1997a, b) reported three 
records from an environmental survey at 
the Argyle Diamond Mine (16 4ri2"S 
128°25 , 50"E) and another near Broome 
(17°57 9 47"S 122°14 , 06"E), which added to 
just six previous Kimberley records. Red- 
chested Button-quail are also rare in South 
Australia (Stanger et ai. 1998; TSN 1998). 
Marchant and Higgins ( 1993) describe it as 
generally uncommon across Australia, but 
apparently secure. Bennett et til. (1998) 
thought it rare on the Victorian Northern 
Plains. Its status across Victoria is unclear 
- thought to be present most years in some 
regions, but only an occasional visitor to 
other regions depending on seasonal condi- 
tions (Emison et ah 1987). 

The observations reported here come 
from a more extensive study of the verte- 
brate fauna of Gunbower Island, Barmah 
State Forest and the Lower Ovens 
Regional Park, which focused on the role 
of coarse woody debris (fallen timber) in 
influencing biodiversity on the southern 
floodplains of the Murray-Darling basin 
(Mae Nally <?/ <://. 2000). 

Habitat use 

Although generally considered a grass- 
land species, we recorded Red-chested 
Button-quail in River Red Gum Eucalyptus 
camaldulemis and Black Box E, Icirgiflo- 
rens woodland along the Murrav River at 
Lindsav Island (34°08 , S 141°07 1 E) and 

School of Ecology. Department of Biological 
Sciences, Monash University, Victoria 3800. 
' email daceloft/isilas. 

Gunbower Island (35°45*S 144°18'E) (E.E. 
Conole, unpubl. data). Other observers 
have found the species in box-ironbark 
forests at Dunolly in central Victoria 
(37°00'S 143°44^E) (G. Horrocks, pers. 
comm.) and Chiltern in north-eastern 
Victoria (36°07 , S 146°37'E) (R. Clarke, 
pers. comm.). In New South Wales, Red- 
chested Button-quail have been found with- 
in box-ironbark remnants in farmland in the 
Capertee Valley (33°07 , S 150°10'E) (D. 
Geering, in litt.). The species can be locally 
abundant in these areas, as appears to be 
the case on Gunbower Island where it out- 
numbered Painted Button-quail by about 
5:1 at one she (L.E. Conole, unpubl, data). 

The common factors in these woodlands 
and forests seem to be areas of bare ground 
and abundant leaf litter, little or no under- 
storey and patches of tussock grass or 
sedges. In River Red Gum habitats, there 
are often drifts of Hood debris. This com- 
bination of conditions most commonly 
occurs along drainage lines. The birds nor- 
mally forage in open areas of deep leaf lit- 
ter, and retreat to the cover of tussocks or 
woody debris if threatened. This is con- 
trary to the description in Marchant and 
Higgins (1993), which suggested that Red- 
chested Button-quail prefer thick standing 
ground cover of grasses or weeds. 

We believe its occurrence in open wood- 
lands in Victoria may be significantly 
underestimated, which in turn leads to its 
overall status in Victoria most probably 
being in error. The species appears to be a 
regular visitor to woodlands in northern 
Victoria, if not a resident. Emison et al. 
(1987) regarded River Red Gum habitats 
along the Murray River to be the habitat in 
which Painted Button-quail reach their 
greatest densities. Even so, it is also the 
case that Red-chested Button-quail out- 
number Painted Button-quail in areas of 
Gunbower Island and Lindsay Island. We 
recommend that observers should be wary 


The Victorian Naturalist 


of presuming button-quail in woodlands of 
northern Victoria to be Painted Button- 
quail. All 'quail" should be scrutinized 
carefully before making an identification. 

Field identification 

Identification of Red-chested Button- 
quail in the field is probably easier in 
woodland than in some of the grassland 
habitats they frequent. We have found 
Red-chested Button-quail more reluctant to 
fly than Painted Button-quail. In dense 
ground cover, birds are probably missed as 
they run out of the path of the observer 
rather than flush. In woodland. Red-chest- 
ed Button-quail typically flush quite late - 
2-10 m from the observer. On the other 
hand. Painted Button-quail typical!} Hush 
earlier - 20-50 m from the observer. Red- 
chested Button-quail also often allow a 
longer period of observation in flight than 
Painted Button-quail. They can generally 
be relocated after the first flushing, but 
rarely after a second. When first flushed. 
Red-chested Button-quail typically fly a 
short distance, land and then stand motion- 
less to inspect the 'intruder*. After being 
Hushed a second or third time, they usually 
run out of view very quickly. 

The key characters to look for to identify 
Red-chested Button-quail are: 

• clearly smaller in size than Painted 

• when viewed from directly behind Red- 
chested Button-quail look uniformly pale 
grew across the upperwings and back com- 
pared with Painted Button-quail, which are 
two-toned, warmer brown-grey on the 
back with greyish upperwings; 

• Little Button-quail T. vciox are clearly 
pinkish-cinnamon on the upperparts; 

• when viewed from side-on, the rufous 
wash on the underparts of Red-chested 
Button-quail is obvious, and the thick bill 
may be seen at close range. 

If viewed on the ground, either before 
flight or when located after landing, the 
characteristic plumage and bill-Size differ- 
ences can be sought. 

Once Red-chested Button-quail had been 
identified as the most abundant species of 
Turnix at "86 Break' (a forestry track) on 
(iunbower Island, a number of observers 
visited the area and found they were able 
to distinguish between Ihe two species in 

flight, after a little practice (C. Coleborn 
and C. Lester, pers. comm.). 


Although Marchant and Higgins (1993) 
mentioned that Red-chested Button-quail 
\.. glean and scratch in litter ../ and use 
small circular scrapes for roosting, it is not 
clear from that description whether they 
make platelets in the course of foraging in 
the manner of other species of Turnix. 
Platelet making for foraging has been 
observed at Gunbower Island (L.E. Conole 
pers. obs.: C. Tzaros, pers. comm.) and is 
typical for the genus. The birds rotate on 
the spot, scratching out a small circular 
depression in leaf litter, pecking occasion- 
ally at the ground, and can sometimes be 
detected in dry periods by the small puffs 
of dust they cause while making the 
platelets, foraging occurs throughout the 
day, although the species has been said to 
be nocturnal and crepuscular (Marchant 
and Higgins 1993). In areas where Red- 
chested Button-quail were found to be 
abundant, the density of platelets over large 
areas of ground was marked and relatively 
uniform (e.g. 10 platelets, m\ 27 April 
1999). At one logging coupe on *S6 Break' 
On (iunbower Island, Red-chested Button- 
quail concentrated foraging - for a short 
period around the gouges and depressions 
made in the ground where sawlogs had 
been dragged through the woodland. 

Status and threats 

The Red-chested Button-quail is catego- 
rized as Vulnerable in Victoria (DNRf 
2000), but is thought to be uncommon and 
secure throughout the rest of its Australian 
range (Marchant and Higgins 1993). Few 
records were made of Red-chested Button- 
quail in Victoria during the first Atlas of 
Australian Birds (Blakers et al. 1984), and 
all of these were from grassland or crops. 
Although it may be irruptive south of the 
(Heat Dividing Range and into drier areas 
of the Wimmera and Mai lee of western 
Victoria, we believe Red-chested Button- 
quail may be a regular visitor or resident 
along the Murray River floodplain in 
northern Victoria. We have found it to be 
locally more abundant than Painted 
Button-quail in areas of River Red Gum 
and Black Box woodland on (iunbower 

Vol. 118(2)2001 


Naturalist Nates 

Island aiul on Lindsay Islaiul. Although 
Red-chested Button-quail may be relative* 
ly r&re in Victoria, it seems to occur more 
regularly and widely, and Utilizes more 
habitats, than previously thought 

(iiven that areas of ground cover sueh as 
tussock grass or sedges and woody debris 
seem important to Red-ehesled Hulton- 
quail, we reeommeud that these habitat 
elements be managed in riverine forests to 
ensure appropriate conditions for this 
speeies. Grazing by livestock, and removal 
ofwoodv debris lor firewood, are threaten- 
ing processes lor the Red-chested Button- 
quail in these lloodplain woodlands. 


We ihaiik the Muit;i\ Darling Basin Commission for 
funding this work (Project R7O07). R. M. gratcfutlj 
acknowledges Ih© support of the Australian Research 
( nuriLil. We ih. i nk Chris ( 'oloborn, Chris I aster, Chris 
Pzaros, John Barkta and ronj Russell for access to 
their unpublished observations of Red -chested Button- 
quail ;ii GunDoweT Island. Paul Pealce and Mantn 
O'Brien offered useful information and advice. 


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KtaMi.i, s ami silms, ,i, (1998), ^Fragments liir the 
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1 uiison. W.B., Ituardscll, CM-, Norman, II, I .oyn, 
R.I I. and Bennett, S,< , (1987). 'Alias of Victorian 
Birds'. (Department of Conservation, Ko rests and 
Lands/ RAOU; Melbourne,) 

Marehant, S. and tliggtns, P.J. (Ids) flQMJ. 
'Handbook ol 'Australian, Ncv\ Zealand and Antarctic 
Birds. Volume 2, Raptors lo Lapwings*. (Oxford 
University Press; Melbourne.) 

Mac Nally. R„ Parkinson. A,. Ilmnnks, (i,. Connie, I,. 
and T/aros, ('. (2000). Relationships between verte- 
brate biodiversity and abundance and availability of 
coarse wood) debris on south-eastern Australian 
rioodplains. Murra\ -Darling Uasiu Commission 
rcporl No. R7007.III.' 

O'Connor, 1 , ( 1 1 > t >7i* >. Red-chested Button-quail at 
Vrgyle. Hit-ding Articles |v>'M lis. Web-address: 
http:/''menihers, an/ [QCOtmor/arl 99305.htm, 

O'Connor, F, (IWb), Kcd-clicstcd Mutton-quail at 
Broome. Birding Articles 1996 #2. Web-address: 
I it I p: ■■'' Foconnor/arl996Q2.htm. 

PWCN1 (1999). Council's I ngoon. Parks and Wildlife 
Commission of the Northern lerrilorv, WcrwkluYe 55: 
h 1 1 p . ' '' vv w vv , rt t . go v . a u / p a vv ' p a r k s / a I i c c / 
eonnells lagoon.html. 

I'i//c>. (i. and Knight, I . (1997). 'Field Guide lo the 
Birds of Australia'. (Angus and Robertson: Sydney.) 

Manger, M.. Clayton, M., Schoddc, R., Wombev, I. 
ami Mason, I, (199S), USIRO list of Australian 
Vertebrates. A reference with conservation status*. 
(CS1RO Publishing: Collingwood, Victoria.) 

ISN (I99SJ. Threatened Birds of SA Threatened 
S pe e i c s Net w o r k . W e b - a d d re s s : blip:/' vv vv v\ . nieniber Isn projecls S A, birds. html. 

Observations of Skink Mating Behaviour 

On .i warm, sunny, summer afternoon ( 10 
October 2000) I noticed what ai first sight 
appeared to ho a heap of dead garden 
skinks (l.ntn/rmphoiis gtdchetioti). Closer 
examination revealed that all were \er> 
much alive and that the heap had a definite 
structure. There were five skinks involved 
and all were on their backs. The central 
skink was held to the ground bv the jaws 
of two others attached to each Hank. The 
purpose of this behaviour soon became 
apparent when one of the attached skinks 
raised the rear half of its body (-with its 
rather messy intromiltent o\\xi\n at the 
ready) and curved it over the Female, After 
a union of several seconds the group broke 
up and the female escaped onl> to be 
pinned down again after travelling about 
"il cm. As there were a number of excited 

skinks about I am not sure whether the 
same group reconvened. I suspect that the 
malings had been going on for some time 
and that many males were involved. The 
se\ of the assistants was not ob\ ious to 
me. I'he behaviour seemed risky the 
cluster oi" lightly hued bellies was ver\ 
conspicuous. Furthermore, their natural 
wariness was lacking. They would have 
been easy pickings for kookaburras etc. 
However, the strategy is obviously suc- 
cessful judging by the abundance of these 
skinks. They are communal neslers and in 
my limited experience the hatehlmgs are 
all ready to emerge at the same lime. 

Alastair Traill 

S I revue StrecL 
Wonga Park, V icioria i| 15, 


The Victorian Naturalist 

Naturalist Notes 

Observations of Black Snake Feeding 

Since taking up part-time residency on a 
Genoa River property in Far East 
Gippsland I have had many opportunities 
to view animals I would not otherwise 
have encountered. Red-bellied Black 
Snakes (Pseudechi.s porphyriacus) appear 
to be common and are usually observed 
curled up in a sunny spot or fleeing. 
Sometimes a moving snake will 'freeze 1 
when confronted by a walker or vehicle. A 
' frozen ' black snake can be encouraged to 
move out of harm's way by very gentle 
contact - a longish stick is recommended 
as they can 'thaw* quickly. Very occasion- 
allv I have seen a black snake sampling 
scents with its tongue as it moves over 
rocks and litter, but until recently I had 
never seen one feeding. 

At midday on 22 December l l >9 ( ) I saw a 
loop of active black snake protruding from 
a shallow pool isolated from the river by 
lack of rain. The approximately 1 30 cm 
long snake was working its head under a 
rock in about 10 cm of water. SuddcnK it 
emerged with a galaxid about 7-8 cm long. 
The front two-thirds of the fish vvas visi- 
ble. Swallowing was assisted by pushing 
the galaxid against rocks and against its 
own flank. All this occurred underwater. 

The snake resumed hunting in a system- 
atic pattern by vigorously working its head 
into every available crevice close to where 
it caught the fish. It would surface periodi- 
cally for air - its breaths were audible 
and then return to the crevices. It varied its 
approach to any one ledge, sometimes 
approaching from the left and sometimes 
from the right. Occasionally there were 
forward thrusting movements of the body 
but as the head was out of sight I could not 
see what was happening. Periodically it 
would raise its head from the water and 
check the immediate pool surrounds before 

resubmerging. Several times it swam to the 
centre of the pool (depth about 30 cm) 
where it swept through the sediment before 
quickly returning to the crevices. 
Eventually it swam the 3 to 4 metres to the 
other end of the pool forcing its way into 
more ledges and through a patch of aquatic 
vegetation. This resulted in a galaxid leap- 
ing from the water onto a rock shelf. While 
the snake was not looking, I moved from 
my vantage point and returned the stranded 
fish to the pool. Without going back to my 
former position, I continued to watch. I 
could see that this reptile had disturbed 
tadpoles, shrimps and a larger decapod. 
Then the snake abandoned its ledge search 
and swam into the shallows and raised its 
head. I found myself 60 to 70 cm from a 
hyped-up snake with its tongue still flick- 
ering. I remembered reading that 'you 
would be very unlucky to be killed by a 
black snake'. As I resolved to hold my 
ground another part of me calculated I was 
within striking distance and also that any 
help was hours away. Suddenly my legs 
stepped backwards and equally suddenly 
my snake vanished into its pool. 

It had been a fascinating half-hour. I was 
left with the distinct impression that this 
animal had been working to a plan - a 
strategy involving the stirring-up the cen- 
tre of the pool so that potential prey fled 
into ledges or even out of the pool where it 
would be easier to catch. The snake also 
seemed to position its body to act as a sort 
of barrier to stop potential food escaping to 
deeper water. If this was the strategy, was 
it learned by trial and error or was it 
insight or was it an innate behaviour? 

Alastair Traill 

i I rcync Street, 
Wonga Park, Victoria ^1 15. 

The Victorian Naturalist 

All material for publication to: 

The Editor, 

The Victorian Natural "is t. 


Locked Bati 3, 

P.O. Blackburn, 

Victoria 3 130. 

Vol. 118(2)2001 


Book Reviews 

Birds of French Island Wetlands 

by Des Quinn and Geoff Lacey 

Publisher; Spectrum Publications, PC) Box 75, Richmond Victoria $22 J , 
ISBN 86786 271 « 153 pp., paperback RRP $20. 

French Island in Victoria's Western Port 
Hay is, in many ways, a jewel in the 
State's flora and fauna heritage, particular- 
ly from the avifauna! viewpoint. The 
island occurs in one of the State's largest 
Ramsar (internationally recognised wader 
and walerhird habitat) sites. As with a 
number of other important sites across the 
Slate the island has a 'Friends group 1 that 
carries out much important work. Authors 
Des QuJnil and Geoff Lacey, (bunding 
members of Friends of French Island, 
communicate their enthusiasm, interest 
and commitment to preserving and record- 
ing the water and wader birds of the island 
with this fascinating and well produced 
book that deserves wide appreciation by all 
Victorians, not just those interested in 

The book is divided into live sections: an 
'introductory' section on the island and its 
wetlands, then sections on the coastal wet- 
lands, inland wetlands, wetland birds and 
their ecosystems and finally wetland man- 
agement guidelines. Much in evidence is 
the authors 1 use of their own data and 
hand-drawn illustrations, with assistance 
from many others who are carefully 

The book opens with some notes about 
the authors then gives some brief com- 
ments on the island's Aboriginal and 
European history and other Western Port 
bird studies. The authors then outline the 
books 1 purpose in five points; the publish- 
ing of their records and an interpretation of 
this data; exploration of species and their 
habitats and hence the importance of the 
area; guidelines for management of (he 
wetland sites; to show how individuals and 
groups can achieve conservation goals; 
and finally to highlight methodology used 
on the study of the island's wetlands as a 
means to compare these sites with wet- 
lands elsewhere in Victoria and Australia. 
Some brief information is given on the 
island's gcologv and wetland eeologv 

before the main chapters dealing with the 
wetland sites. 

The chapters on coastal and inland wet- 
lands are clearly laid out so the naturalist or 
new visitor can gain an insight into each 
site's water or wader bird community. 
Common and scientific names are used and 
the text is supported by hand-drawn maps 
plus a few illustrations. The importance of 
each site is staled and notes from the 
authors* own notebooks are interspersed 
with the text. This adds a personal dimen- 
sion thai communicates their enthusiasm 
while giving the reader an immediate 
impression of a site or observation. Where a 
site is particularly significant within 
Victoria or Australia, this is noted and other 
information sources are clearly referenced. 

The last two parts o\~ the book put the 
bird and wetland data into a State or 
eeosv stein context. Some opinions are 
given on trends in numbers of species at 
certain Sites, mid the state of Western 
Port's seagrass community is briefly dis- 
cussed. There are a number of useful tables 
including a complete (including terrestrial) 
bird list and records for most wetland siles 
mentioned in the text. Management guide- 
lines for the wetlands are also discussed 
based on the Department of Natural 
Resources and Environment Guidelines of 
!9%(NRi: 19%). 

1 had a minor criticism about the images 
used. Most of the bird photographs in the 
le\i are from the Ian McCann collection 
and unfortunately a number are repeated in 
different parts of the book. Likewise the 
line drawings of birds. However, it is the 
authors* own images o\~ the wetland habi- 
tats that are the most interesting, as thev 
show what some sites actually appear like 
ou the ground. 

The authors have produced a book that not 
only details the numerous and varied wet- 
land siles on and around the island but also 
gives an account of the interaction between 
the birdlife. their habitats and the chemo- 


The Victorian Naturalist 

Book Reviews 

physical environment. Although il is nol 
especially a book for the casual tourist, any 
visitor would find in the publication valu- 
able resource material prior to visiting or if 
they wished to research the island's water 
and wader bird fauna. It is a delight to see 
the use of original, long-term data presented 
in a complete and informative format that 
will allow further analysis by the interested 
observer. The authors' 35 years of observa- 
tions are clearly evident in this fact-filled 
publication. For those interested in French 
Island bird fauna this is an important le\i to 
add to your library. It is also the first book 
to attempt to record and publish details of a 

major vertebrate group for the casual visitor 
and ornithologist alike. While not a Held 
guide or a handbook for the pack, I thor- 
oughly recommend the book to all interest- 
ed in Victorian fauna. 


NRI (1996), Manual of Wetlands Management, 
WciIluilIs t 'onservatian Program. Wetlands 
Conservation Report W 4, National Parks Service, 
(Department ofNatural Resources and Environment: 

Martin O'Brien 

Wildlife Biologist, 

28 Newry Street, 

Richmond. Victoria 3121. 

Common Australian Fungi: a Bushwalker's Guide 

by Tony Young 

Publisher: I 'nbtersity Oj New South Wales Press Limited, Sydney, Australia, 2000. 
devised Edition. f54pp, 16 watercolour plates, 16 photographic plates, softback. RRP $22.95 

I suspect this little volume now holds the 

record for the number of different editions 
o\' essential!) the same work, this being the 
fourth, although two are minor revisions o\' 
a previous publication well on the wav to 
becoming a bibliographic nightmare! 

I he kilter pan have photographs to sup- 
plement (he watercolour illustrations, 
minor updates in terminology, an addition- 
al introduction and a revised introductory 
paragraph for the work proper. I he water- 
colours in the latter pair have been separat- 
ed from their original taxonomic sequence 
and regrouped alphabetically, and are 
poorer reproductions than in the first pair. 
The shape and covering have also changed 
from hard covered 'paperback' si/e to a 
longer narrow paperbacked pocket si/e. 
1 he only difference I could deteel between 
this '2000 bushwalkers guide revised edi- 
tion' and the '1994 naturalist's guide edi- 
tion' was a change in key entrv 54 (p. 28) 
and the insertion of Pycnoporus here and 
Pycnoporm coceineus at p. 39 and in the 
index. At the index entrv, you will also see 
a reference to plate 23, where you will 
look lor it in viiin, until you realise ilia! il 
hi , the caption Irametes citwahariint. 

(This name change is unexplained in the 
text, and similar unexplained changes also 
occur within a lew genera.) Unfortunately, 
a number of such 'design (laws' mars this 
and the earlier editions, (all bv the same 
publisher), the two most glaring of which 
are the use oi' 'old 1 names in both die ke> 
and often illustrations, as opposed to u ncw' 
names in the text, and the failure lo indi- 
cate plate numbers in the text, which 
means you are forever thumbing back- 
wards and forwards or using the index. 

So, into the work 1 I he 'main hundreds 
ot species o\' microl'ung'f alluded lo in the 
introduction is one of the greatest under- 
statements I've ever seen. Perhaps hun- 
dreds of thousands. Maybe millions. A sin- 
gle decaying leaf would probably suppl> 
the "mam hundreds'. We then run brief!) 
and reasonably interestingly through the 
main fungal groups, which are illustrated 
with good, though small, but always 
unsealed line drawings. I have never, how- 
ever, seen an entire Cordycepi ascospore 
liberated as illustrated in figure 9r (p. X) 
tliev usually break into about 1 1)0 tiny bar- 
rel shaped part spores. I he remaining sec- 
lions of Fungi in the Bushland are general - 

Vol. 118(2)2001 


Book Reviews 

ly adequate, although the section on Fairy 
rings (pp. 10-1 1) would have benefited 
from the inclusion of reference to the 
research indicating the fungal structures 
underlying fairy rings may be the largest 
living things on earth! Also adequate (for a 
bushwalkers guide) are the following sec- 
tions on Fungi and People and Poisonous 
and Kdible Fungi, though again, there is no 
reference to the now common use of fungi 
(usually yeasts) in the genetic engineering 
of various products. 

The Study oi^ Fungi is fine for those 
already 'in the know\ but would benefit 
from simple illustrations on 'how to ...' - 
how to make a spore print, section, slide 
and the like, perhaps a sample record sheet 
for beginners. The Key itself appears, from 
my relatively limited knowledge, to be sat- 
isfactory, except, as indicated above, for 
the use of discontinued names - eg. 
Pleurotus. Cordyceps keys out, assuming 
you know, or can observe the spore mass is 
not L slimy and foul or foetid 1 ! The key 
does not, however, indicate on which page 
the species descriptions begin - you have 
to look this up in the index. 

The species descriptions are alphabetic 
within orders organised roughly taxonomi- 
cally - a fairly common pattern. The order- 
ing of the vvatercolours is now purely 
alphabetic, and the photographic plates 
appear to have been inserted at random. 
There is no indication of scale with any of 
the illustrations - you have to work this 
out from the species description. The 
descriptions themselves appear adequate, 
although again the accompanying (often 
useful) diagrams where present are both 

unlabelled and unsealed. Newer terminolo- 
gy has been included as subtext following 
or under the 'old' name, which is the one 
used to position the species in the text. 
Important information re edibility is clear- 
ly displayed - you can't say you weren't 

The sixteen photographic plates are of 
good to excellent quality. All would aid in 
the identification of the species depicted. 
The sixteen watercolour plates, while 
intrinsically beautiful, are of variable use 
with respect to identification and all illus- 
trations are small. 1 do not, for instance, 
think I would identify Lactarius cieiiciosus 
from its illustration (PI. 18), though I 
might Cordyceps gunnii (PI. 6). 

The work concludes with a useful glos- 
sary and further reading, although you 
would need inter library loan to get hold of 
some of these! Interestingly, although this 
contains the more recent releases, it is a 
considerably cut down version of the bibli- 
ography presented in the first 'pair'. 

Despite the above criticisms, this is a 
useful guide, and it is a pity it does not 
carry a reference to the Fungimap scheme 
(many target species are included). There 
are an awful lot of fungi out there, and pre- 
cious little information on any of them. 
This work, while suffering from a number 
of design faults, would enable the lay per- 
son, with a bit of effort, to enter in a practi- 
cal way into the fascinating world of fungi. 
How many you could identify on a bush- 
walk - well, that's another question! 

Rod Barker 

P.O. Box 536, 

llealesvillc, Victoria 3777. 

Wildflowers of the Brisbane Ranges 

by Give and Merle Trigg 

Publisher: CSIRO Publishing. Collingwood Victoria, 2000. 
12$ pp, colour photographs. RRP $19,95. 

Photographic records of the wildflowers 
of a region, locality, stale or national park 
collected into books are becoming popular, 
perhaps with the availability of funds for 
such projects from government depart- 

ments. This book is no exception and the 
authors, based on their experience of 10 
years of observation, have compiled a col- 
lection of over 400 of the 430 species of 
the Brisbane Ranges National Park. 


The Victorian Naturalist 

Book Reviews 

Brisbane Ranges National Park is situat- 
ed 80 km west of Melbourne and 30 km 
north west of Geelong and boasts a wide 
range of soils, aspects and terrain that sup- 
port grassy plants, dry open forests, wood- 
lands, moist shaded sites, rocky sites and 
dry sandy areas. This is reflected in the 
rich diversity of the flora. 

There is a short introdyctory section on 
the history and the events that shaped the 
Brisbane Ranges beginning 450 million 
years ago, with comments on Aboriginal 
and European settlement, gold, Geelong's 
need for a water catchment, timber 
removal and the adoption of the Brisbane 
Ranges as a National Park. 

The main part of the book is of course 
the photographs of the flowering plants of 
the Brisbane Ranges. The species are 
arranged alphabetically under family and 
then species. The monocots appear to 
come first, represented by the Liliaeeae 
and Orchidaceae and a few other famih 
groups. A clump of Xanthorrhoea atts- 
tralis (family Xanthorrhoeaceae) with 
spikes in full-flower is immediately fol- 
lowed by Curpohrotus modest us (family 
Ai/oaceae) with no explanation for the 
change back to the start of the alphabet. 
Plants are in two groups but there is noth- 
ing to explain this. 

Some of the larger or more important 
family groups begin with a descriptive 
paragraph detailing the characteristics of 
the family in growth form, leaves, flowers 
and fruits. Details presented with each 
photograph are scientific name, common 
name, family, some limited detail on 
growth form (herb, shrub, erect annual, 
tufted herb), height of plant, flower 
arrangement and width (e.g. eapitula to 
30 mm, buttons to 15 mm, flowers in clus- 
ters, flowers in brown plumes). A short 
phrase describes where these plants may 
be found {dry areas, damp flats, wide- 
spread in Forests, poor slonv ground) and 
when they flower. 

There are two very useful aids to identifi- 
cation of plant species in this book. One is 

the 'colour identification guide 1 , which 
groups colour and the types of flower 
arrangements likely to be found in that 
colour. For instance, under 'pink or red 1 
flowers may be arranged as daisies, peas, 
spikes and umbels (to name just a few) 
whilst 'green or brown 1 can be buttons, 
clusters, cylindrical or tubular. Page num- 
bers refer to the main photographic sec- 
tion. Secondly, letters after the location o\' 
plants refer lo the Soils of the Brisbane 
Ranges map in the back end-paper of the 
book. Each soil region is shaded with a 
unique colour and numbered from A-L. 
Knowing where you are when you try to 
identify species may aid in differentiating 
between similar species and genera (pro- 
vided you are not already lost!). 

The photographs are excellent, clear and 
detailed and provide a close-up view of 
each subject. Some species are represented 
twice with another photo to give more 
detail, e.g. the flower of Caleand major 
followed by a photo o\ its leaves, or 
Eucalyptus camuldukvisis, a photo of the 
tree and one of the lemcs and buds. 
Ideally, there would have been more pho- 
tos of growth form as well as flower close- 
up, but perhaps there was not room or the 
budget would not allow extra photos. 
Ideally, too, there would have been more 
detail in the text to draw attention to the 
characteristics that differentiate similar 
species from each other, such as flower 
and leaf form. 

There is a map of Brisbane Ranges 
National Park, which includes local and 
park roads, walking tracks, barbecue and 
camping areas and an index, glossary and a 
list of references. 

On the whole, this is an excellent publi- 
cation and I look forward to visiting 
Brisbane Ranges National Park, book in 
hand, to locate and identify many of these 
plants for myself. 

Anne Morton 

10 Rtipieola Court, 
Kowvillc, Victoria 3 I7N. 

I or assistance with the preparation of this issue, lhanks to Maria Belvedere and 
Karen Dobson (label printing). Dorothy Mahler (administrative assistance) and 
Michael Mcliain (web page). 

Vol. 118(2)2001 


Book Reviews 

Field Guide to the Orchids of New South Wales and Victoria 

Second Edition 

by Tony Bishop 

Publisher: University- of New South Wales Press, Sydney, 2000 
344 pp., inel, 72 colour plates. RRP $37.95 

'Field Guide to the Orchids of New 
South Wales and Victoria 1996', will be 
well known to orchid enthusiasts. It is 
quite simply the best available, complete 
Held guide to the orchid species found in 
South Eastern Australia. The second edi- 
tion has been updated by David Banks, 
John Keller and John Riley. Two main 
revisions have occurred. In the first edi- 
tion, Tony Bishop covered a number of 
species that had not been formally 
described. Since his death, many of these 
have been described and named. For exam- 
ple, the lovely spider orchid I first admired 
last October is described, in the first edi- 
tion on p. 149 as Caladenia Sp. Aff, reticu- 
lata (Dalyenong). It is now listed as a full 
species, Caladenia cniciformis, 'distin- 
guished by its rigid cross-shaped crimson 
{lowers with clubbed sepals 1 . Secondly, 
the genus Dendrobium has been split into 
two gcneia. Dendrobium and Dockrilla. 
The descriptions and key reflect these 
changes. 1 lowcver, for the general user, the 
revisions could be considered relatively 
minor. The book remains compact and 
easy to carry on field trips, although the 
paper used in the second edition is a poorer 
quality than that of the first. 

For those who are unfamiliar with it, 
'Field Guide to the Orchids of New South 
Wales and Victoria*, is divided into three 
main sections. The first contains detailed 
information for each species of orchid, sys- 
tematically covering distribution and habi- 
tat, identification, similar species and field 
notes. These descriptions are arranged by 
botanical affinities, not alphabetically. The 

second section contains over 500 high 
quality colour photographs of all taxa 
described. An index to the colour plates 
gives specimen location and photographic 
credits. Finally there is a comprehensive 
key to the orchid genera and species of 
New South Wales and Victoria. The book 
also contains a glossary and index. 

The photographic work, mainly by Tony 
Bishop, is outstanding. The photographs 
are close ups, mostly taken by flash in situ, 
and especially selected to aid identifica- 
tion. The standard and consistency is awe- 
some. I checked on the illustrations of two 
orchid genera difficult to identify because 
of their small size, Midge Orchids 
Genoplesiunu and Onion Orchids Microtis, 
and they are wonderfully clear and sharp. 
Only one new photograph, a superb illus- 
tration of the Long-tailed Greenhood 
Pterostylis woolsii, with its 10- 15cm long 
lateral sepals, is included in the second 
edition. A continuing frustration is that the 
illustrations are still not named in the new 
edition. They are linked back to the text 
only by a number, requiring a certain 
amount of flipping back and forth. 

At a list price of $37.95 this volume is a 
'must buy' for all orchid lovers, botanists, 
b u s h wa 1 k e rs , a n d field n a t u ra I i st s . 
However, many who already own the book 
will probably not immediately update to a 
second edition of what is substantially the 
same work. 

Joan Broadberry 

2 Shaun Court, 
Templeslowe, Victoria 3106- 


The Victorian Naturalist 

Book Reviews 

Native Orchids of Southern Australia: A Field Guide 

by David and Barbara Jones 

Publisher: Bloomings Books, 37 Bunvood Road, Hawthorn, Victoria 3122 
272pp„ 275 Jull colour photos. RRP $29.95 

The Introduction to 'Native Orchids of 
Southern Australia' states, 'This book pre- 
sents a sample of the native orchids which 
occur naturally south of latitude 27°S. This 
line passes close to Brisbane on the east 
coast of Australia, and Kalbarri on the 
west. Approximately one-third of the 
indigenous orchids found in this region are 
included.* Unusual l\, this means that 
orchids from Western Australia and South 
Eastern Australia are grouped together, 
the authors' aim. explained in the Preface, 
is to produce *a simple field guide to intro- 
duce these special native plants to a wide 

I will say al the outset, 'Native Orchids o\' 
Southern Australia 1 has some difficulty ful- 
filling its slated aim. because, although 
published as a field guide, it covers onlv 
one third of possible species. Size and cost 
are constraints, but anyone more than a 
casual user would find this book inadequate 
as a single field guide to the orchids o\' 
Western and South Eastern Australia. This 
is an obvious criticism that will limit its 
appeal, but what are the book's strengths'.' 

David and Barbara's new publication is a 
handy size and weight for a Held guide. 
and has a simple easy to use structure. A 
brief introduction covers the basics of 
orchid ecology. The major part of the book 
deals systematically with each chosen 
orchid species. A colour photograph, 
botanical and common names and a 
straightforward description are provided. 
Overall distribution, flowering period, 
habitat and field notes are covered, and in 
man) cases, differences from similar 
species are outlined. I he field guide finish- 
es with a short glossary, references and a 
very clearly set out index. The general user 
would find its alphabetic arrangement of 
orchid genera very convenient. 

As a keen native orchid enthusiast, two 
things drew me to buy this volume even 
before I was asked to review it. firstly, its 
illustrations. Main are truly mouth-watering 
and a great aid to learning more about native 

orchids. The photographs I appreciated most 
are ihose showing groups of orchids in their 
natural bush habitat. Examples include the 
Leafv (ireenhood PtcrostyHs cucullata, the 
I all leek Orchid Prasophylium datum, and 
the Red Beaks Orchid, Parorchis nigricans. 
I wish more publications would include such 
gems. I was also fascinated by the excellent 
photographs of the Western and Eastern 
t hiderground Orchids Rhizanthclfa gardncri 
and R slatcri. 

In some eases an accessory photograph 
taking in leaves, stem, or from a different 
perspective is also included. The main 
photographs o\' the Channel Leaf 
Cymbidium Cymbidium canaliculaltum, 
and the Sweet Cymbidium ( '. suave, actu- 
ally show the dense clumps of green 
pseudobulbs attached to trees. The flower 
racemes are only shown in the smaller, 
inset photograph. I have never seen these 
orchids and such a treatment really helps 
me to understand how they would appear 
in the bush. 

Secondly, 1 was drawn to the book's 
wide coverage. I have not yet had much 
opportunity to seek out orchids interstate, 
and want to be exposed to orchid genera 
and species I cannot see in Victoria. Such a 
book allows less experienced orchid enthu- 
siasts, such as myself, to learn without 
being overwhelmed, as might happen with 
a larger volume. 

I believe then that ^Native Orchids of 
Southern Australia: A field Guide 3 does, 
to a great extent, fulfil its purpose. 

In comparison with native birds there is 
still very little literature covering 
Australia's magnificent native orchids. It is 
such a pleasure to welcome not just one, 
but two new publications. In their different 
approaches they will enable both the 
expert and the beginner to extend their 
knowledge of these unique plants. 

Joan Broad berrj 

2 Shaun < ourl. 
I ciiiplcsinuL'. Victoria 3 [06. 

Vol. 118(2)2001 



George Anthony Thomas, B.Sc, Ph.D. (Melb.) 

30 June 1921 - 1 3 November 2000 

Dr George Anthony Thomas loved and 
had a great respect for the natural world. It 
is therefore not surprising that he joined 
the Field Naturalists Club o\ Victoria, at 
an early age (on 10 August 1942) and 
went on to become an honorary member. 
The Victorian Naturalist was an important 
part of his library and was read with great 

George was born in Northcote in 1921. 
He was the eldest of six children (sisters 
Shirley, Valda and Patricia, brothers 
Kenneth and Warren) born to his father, 
George, and his mother, Dorothy 
McMahon. The family lived in Clifton 
Hill. George's interest in nature, in particu- 
lar geology, began with his childhood ram- 
bles, complete with dogs in tow, up and 
down the banks of the IVIerri Creek, lie 

/•A m 

The young geologist George Thomas in 1^52, 
shortly after joining the Bureau of Mineral 

was quick to notice the massive layers of 
(Quaternary) basalt overlying the obvious- 
ly different older (Silurian) rocks beneath. 

He attended St. John's Primary School, 
Clifton Hill and St. Thomas's Christian 
Brothers Secondary School, Fitzroy before 
achieving a place at St. Kevin's College in 
Toorak to undertake his Leaving Certi- 
ficate. However, the aftermath of the Great 
Depression was still widely felt throughout 
the community and George, well aware of 
the scarcity of the necessities of life and 
his parents' position, left school to work as 
a copyboy for The Herald newspaper. 
Nevertheless, George never gave up his 
love of reading, learning and science and 
he enrolled part time at the Austral College 
in Collins Street (Melbourne) in order to 
complete his Matriculation Certificate. He 
was later to take up a junior position at the 
National Museum of Victoria. 

In 1940, George gained a place at the 
University of Melbourne where he com- 
menced a science degree with major stud- 
ies in Geology and Zoology. On the 16 
June 1945, during the King's Birthday 
weekend, he married a fellow geology stu- 
dent, Nancy Mary Fenwick-Barbour, at St 
Patrick's Cathedral, Hast Melbourne. 

This was the time of the Second World 
War and, as a student, George was a cor- 
poral in the Melbourne University Rifles. 
Mis father, a veteran of the First World 
War's Western Front, advised George that 
an officer's life was preferable. The 
National Museum of Victoria had a use for 
George until 1944 when he enlisted in the 
Royal Australian Air Force as Pilot Officer 
George Thomas. With his background in 
Geology, he was drawn into the new area 
of Operational Research on such tasks as 
air photo interpretation. He then took part 
in the Allied invasion of the island of 

After the War, new opportunities in 
Geology resulted in George joining the 
Commonwealth Bureau of Mineral 
Resources (BMR). Geology and 
Geophysics in 1948. George. Nancy and 
new dauuhter Marianne moved to Canberra 


The Victorian Naturalist 


in 1949 and son Paul was born in 1951. 

On joining the BMR, George com- 
menced field work in the Carnarvon Basin, 
Western Australia under the leadership of 
Curt Teichert for *a couple of weeks'. The 
'couple of weeks' became 5 months! 
Communications were limited in such a 
remote region and so it was that George 
and half the Western Australian outback 
heard the news of Marianne's first tooth - 
courtesy of the Royal Flying Doctor's 
radio network. 

George further developed his interests in 
fossils during the field seasons in the 
Carnarvon, Canning and Bonaparte Basins 
of the West. In particular, fossil bra- 
chiopods from the Devonian to Permian 
were to capture his imagination, lie 
enrolled for a Ph.D. at the University of 
Melbourne and spent time at the 
Universil> in the mid 1950s, graduating in 
1961. He joined the staff of the 
Department of Geology at the University 
of Melbourne in 1960 and was a Senior 
Lecturer in that department until his retire- 

In I960 George, Nancy and family 
returned from Canberra to live in North 
Melbourne and then Ivanhoe. The family 
continued to grow with the arrival of Peter 
and then Michael and Andrew. 

George's geological work, covering such 
areas as field work and mapping, stratigra- 
phy and palaeontology, is preserved in a 
range of monographs and articles. It is 
characterised by meticulous detail and sig- 
nificant discoveries. Amongst the latter 
were the discovery and proving on 
palaeontological grounds of the existence 
of an Early Carboniferous succession in 
the Canning Basin and the palaeontologi- 
cal proof of a Late Permian Tatarian (or 
Wuchiapingian in current terms) succes- 
sion in both the Canning and Bonaparte 
Basins. These and other significant discov- 
eries, which have had major impacts on 
Late Palaeozoic Gondwanan and global 
correlations, are to be found in the pub- 
lished literature. George himself, with 
characteristic modesty, never trumpeted 
his achievements. 

Dr. George Thomas in 1999. Photos kindly sup- 
plied h\ Mrs. Nancy Thomas. 

George, often with his family, travelled 
widely to Europe (including the then 
I SSR), India, Asia and the Americas. 
These travels extended his range of geo- 
logical friends but were also opportunities 
to extend his wide cultural and historical 
interests. George's broad interests, and 
knowledge, were vast as testified by a 
glance at the library in the family home at 
Ivanhoe. Lengthy discussions would range 
through philosophy, religion, and tine art, 
to subtleties of American Civil War 
History. However, above all. he was a 
family man and a true gentleman. His was 
a life to celebrate and he shall be greatly 
missed by Nancy, his family and all who 
knew him. 

Neil W. Archbold 

School ofhcolouv and Environment, 

Deakin University, Rusden Campus, 

Clayton, Victoria 3168. 

Vol. 118(2)2001 


The Field Naturalists Club of Victoria Inc. 

RegNoA00336llX " , 

Established 1880 

In which is incorporated the Microscopical Society of Victoria 

OBJECTIVES: To stimulate interest in natural history 
and to preserve and protect Australian flora and fauna. 

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beginners as well as experienced naturalists. 

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Microscopical: Mr R u Powi r, 36 Schotters Road. Mernda 3754. 9717 351 1 


Members receive The Victorian Naturalist and the monthly Field Nat News Free. The Club organis- 
es several monthly meetings (tree to all) and excursions (transport costs may be charged). Field 
work, including botany, mammal and invertebrate surveys, is being done at a number of locations 
in Victoria, and all members are encouraged to participate. 

Yearly SUBSCRIPTION Rates -The Field Naturalists Club of Victoria Inc. 

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Send lo: FNCV, Locked Bag 3, PO Blackburn. Victoria 3130, Australia 

Printed b> Brown Prior Anderson, 5 Lvans Street, Burwood, Victoria 3125. 

A. Nyctalis mirabilis, The Beeches. Photo; 
Bruce Fuhrer. 

C. Battarraea stevenii, Victoria. Photo: Bruce 
B. Dictyopanus pusillus, Mt. Kembla. Photo: p u hrer 
Pat Jordan. 

D. Hypocreopsis sp., Nyora. Photo: lima Dunn. 


A. Anthurus archeri, Michelago Peak. Photo: Margery Smith. 


' - ---*'• ' 

«r 8H1 

• . ••• 

B. Colostoma rodwayi, Otways. Photo: Ian McCann, 

■ ... ?*. 


A. Amanita phalloides, Melbourne. Photo: Virgil Hubregtse. 

B. Rozites roseoliladna, Grampians. Photo: Ian McCann. 


A. Alcuria rhentma, Dom Dom. Photo: Sheila B. Dictyophora indusiata, Innisfail. Photo 
I loughton. Bruce Fuhrer. 



1 r /> 


p^ /^' 




SIR % ^* ^ ^Tw V* £ 



('. Banksiamyces macrocarpvs, Kurtb Kiln. D. Craterellus comucopioides. Photo: Anneke 
Photo: lima Dunn. Vcenstra-Quah. 



Volume 118(3) 

June 2001 

Published by The Field Naturalists Club of Victoria since ISH4 

Naturalist Note 

A Large Weevil from the Simpson Desert 

During a trek through the southern part 
of the Simpson Desert, west of Poeppel 
Corner, in July 1999, we crossed a number 
of salt lakes. These lakes form a prominent 
feature of the area and have a hard, dry 
crust (Fig. I). 

To my surprise members of our group 
found two large, dead weevils encrusted in 
the hard salt surface of two of these lakes 
and then, further east on another dry salt 
lake, a live specimen was found crawling 
sluggishly on the surface some distance 
from the edge of the lake. 

The live Weevil was black with grey 
markings and heavily sculptured. One of 
the most interesting things was that the 
elytra (wing cases) were fused together, 
i.e. the weevil was flightless. Fusion of the 
elytra forms a protective shell for the 
abdomen and reduces moisture loss in the 
harsh conditions. The total length of this 
beetle was 35 mm, and was known to the 
group leaders as the 'Elephant Beetle" 
because of its prominently large rostrum 

Since baggage was limited to one kilbag, 
I was unable to carry Zimmerman's 8-vol- 
ume series on weevil identification and 
had to wail until my return to Melbourne. 
Fortunately, the specimens travelled well 
and one was photographed before the iden- 
tification (Fig. 2). The identification was 
done using the dead beetles, the live one 
having been released in the desert after 
careful study. It was fortunate that Mr Bob 
Thompson, a weevil expert, was working 
at the Museum of Victoria and was kind 
enough to attempt the identification using 
E.C. Zimmerman's Australian Weevils 
(CSIRO Australia), and specimens from 
the MOV collections. 

The weevils were identified as belonging 
to the sub-family Leptopimae (Cureulion- 
idae) and most likely the species Leptopius 
(near) gravis. This sub-family is distin- 
guished by a conspicuous scar on the outer 
surface of each mandible left by the 
detachment of a tooth used by the adult 
when escaping from the pupae (Lawrence 
and Britton 1994). Larvae of most species 
o( Leptopius live in the soil and \qc<1 on the 

Fig. 1. Salt Lake in ihc Simpson Desei 

Fiji. 2. The weevil Leptopius (nr.) gravis found 
on the lake surface. 

roots of wattles (Moore 1980) and, accord- 
ing to The Insects of Australia' (CSIRO 
1970), on 'roots and foliage of Aeacia\ 
The wattle species seen near these salt 
lakes were Dune Wattle Acacia ligulata, 
Victoria Wattle A. victoriae, Mulga A, 
aneura and Gidgee A, cambagei. 

The reason why these beetles were walk- 
ing on the salt lakes remains to be 


Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research 
Organisation (1970). 'The Insects of Australia 1 . 
{Melbourne University Press: Victoria.) 

I,awrence, J.F. and Britton, G.B, (1994). 'Australian 
Beetles 1 . (Melbourne University Cress; Victoria.) 

Moore, B.P. (1980). 'A Guide lo Ihc Beetles of South- 
eastern Australia*. (Australian Entomological Press: 
Greenwich, N.S.W.) 

Zimmerman, B.C. 'Australian Weevils 1 . Volume IV. 
(C.S.I.R.O.: Australia.) 

E.J. Grey 

8 Woona Court, 
YallamlVic, Victoria 3085. 



Volume 118(3)2001 


Editor: Merilyn Grey 
Assistant Editors: Alistair Evans and Anne Morton 

Research Reports The Distribution and Abundance of Little Penguins at Sea in 
Western Port, Victoria, by Peter Dann, Ros Jessop 
and Mar •g Mealy 76 

New Tanjilian Fossil Localities at Dungaree Creek, 
Central Victoria, by Clem Earp 82 

Contributions Addendum to 'Moss Collections from Lord Howe Island in the 
National Herbarium of Victoria (MEL)', by Josephine Milne 
and Arthur W. Thies 89 

Effects of Grazing, Tourism and Climate Change on the Alpine 
Vegetation of Kosciuszko National Park, by Pascal Scherrer 
and Catherine Marina Pickering 93 

Naturalist Notes A Large Weevil from the Simpson Desert, by E.J. Grey 74 

A New Zealand Hepatic in Victoria, by Alex McLean 
and David Meagher 92 

Ant Behaviour Part 2, by E.J. Grey 100 

Book Reviews A Guide to Squid, Cuttlefish and Octopuses of Australasia, 

by Mark Norman and . imanda Reid, reviewed by K.N. Bell 1 01 

Flora of Australia Volume 48: Ferns, Gymnosperms and 
Allied Groups, reviewed by Maria Gibson 102 

Software Review Compendium of Ft ngimap Target Species Version 1 .0 

[CD-ROM], reviewed by Pat Grey 104 

Tribute Stefanie Rennick, by Tom Saull 1 06 

Honours Lyle Courtney, OAM 107 

Legislation Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act 1988 91 

ISSN 0042-5184 

Cover: Little Penguins Eudyptula minor arriving ashore at night after spending the day feed- 
ing at sea. See story on page 76. Photo hy Scancolor Australia Pty. Ltd. and supplied by 
Peter Dann. 

Our web page: 

Research Reports 

The Distribution and Abundance of Little Penguins 
at Sea in Western Port, Victoria 

Peter Dann\ Ros Jessop 1 and Marg Healy 1 


fhts main aim of this study was to describe ihe patterns ol distribution and abundance ai sea of the 
Little Penguin Eudyptula minor in Western Port. Penguins were counted along an SI km series of 
transects from a boal at approximately lour-weekly intervals between April 1991 and August 1994. 
The mean number (± s.i ■.) of penguins seen pet survey was 61 7 I 10.4. lolal numbers \^-c count 
ranged from () lo 214. I lighcr numbers of penguins were found in late autumn and winter and lower 
numbers in mid and late summer. In April [994, when the number of penguins was greatest (214), 
we estimated thai the total numbei ol penguins in the bay was 3#3, Similarly, the mean for all counts 
(57,4) gave an estimate of 103 birds, I his estimated maximum number Was 1.5% ol'the estimated 
breeding population on the Summerland Peninsula, 

Penguins were Mealed nuiiul) in the western and northern arms of ihe bay. Relatively lew birds were 
seen in the shallower eastern arm and none over inlerlidal areas. The highest numbers ol' penguins 

per kilometre of transect were found along two transects in the centre oldie bay at the confluence of 

Ihe western, northern and eastern arms, Group sizes were small, 49% of XX4 groups consisted of sin- 
gle birds and 94% ol groups eonsisled of five birds or Fewer. 

Finally, the distribution and seasonal occurrence ol t ittle Penguins in Western Port are diseussed in 
relation to penguin movements ami the biology and ecology ol'the lish species eaten by penguins. 
[The ' h wrian Vaturaltst I ISO), 2001, 76 BL) 


Ihe distribution mid abundance of birds at 
sea in Victorian waters are not well known. 
Learmonlh (1966) gave some details ol'the 
occurrence ofscahirds in western Victoria, 
as did Wheeler (1980 for Phillip Island, 
Simpson (1972) for Mass Strait ami 
Norman (1992a, b) for waters south of 
Phillip Island. Some studies have consid- 
ered seabirds in enclosed waters such as 
Port Phillip Ba\ (Pescott 1983; Norman 
1992a, b) or surveyed the distribution and 
abundance ofscahirds at breeding sites 
along the coast ( I larris and Norman I 98 I ). 

Previous studies of birds in Western Port 
have been land-based and consequently 
concentrated on the waterbtrds, waders and 
the lew seabird groups such as cormorants, 
gulls and terns that congregate al roosting 
sites at high tide (Dann cl at. 1994; I oyn 
ot al. 1994). I o examine the distribution of 
those seabirds which are less dependent on 
land, such as penguins, it is necessary lo 
conduct surveys from boats al regular 
intervals and in a systematic fashion, I he 
main aim of this Study was to describe the 
patterns of distribution and abundance al 
3Cfl of one locally breeding and abundant 

1 Phillip Island Nature Park. 1*0 Bon 9 
Phillip island, Victoria !923 

( i-\\ 

seabird, the Little Penguin Eudyptula 
minor, in Western Port between April 1991 
and August 1994. 


Western Port lies on the southern eoasl ol' 
Victoria, east of Melbourne, and covers 
680 km including 270 km' ol' tidal mucl- 
llats. 11 has a coastline of 263 km of which 
107 km are lined by White Mangroves 
Avlcennta manna (Shapiro 1975). One 
large island (Phillip Island) lies in the 
southern entrance and a larger island 
(French Island) occupies the centre ol'the 
bay (Fig. I ). 

Thirty-six surveys were completed in the 
40 months between April 1991 and August 
1994. Boat engine failure and inclement 
weather caused four counts lo be aban- 
doned or postponed and prevented our 
attempts to maintain lour-weekly intervals 
between counts. Little Penguins were 
counted along tin SI km series of transects 
(Fig. 1) from a boal travelling at 20-25 
knots. The transects were perpendicular to 
Ihe main channels to cover the entire range 
of sub-tidal wttler depths in each section ol' 
the bay. Intcrtidal areas were not traversed 
and subtidal areas less than two metres 
deep at high tide were also not counted 
with the exception of those areas in Ihe 
eastern part ol'the Hay (big. I )- 


Ihe Victorian Naturalist 

Research Reports 





38 30 

145 J 

Bass Strait 

Fig. 1. The series of transects (black lines) used to count Little Penguins in Western Port and the 
total number of penguins per kilometre counted on each transect in Western Port. The shaded areas 
are those less than Two metres deep at high tide and include all intertidal areas and some shallow 
subtidal areas. The small arrow north-west of French Island indicates the approximate position of 
Barriliar Island. 

Usually two observers were stationed on 
either side of a seven-metre boat {eye 
height e. 3 m) and counted penguins in the 
right-angled sector from the bow to star- 
board or port. Observers recorded each 
penguin seen up to 500 m from the boat 
onto a tape cassette. When counting accu- 
racy was impaired by either choppy sea 
conditions or larger numbers of penguins, 
the boat was stopped briefly while the 
counts were made. The observations made 
each time a penguin was seen included the 
time, transect, number of individuals and 
behaviour at the time. Difficulties of visi- 
bility caused by weather ( Tasker el at. 
1984) were reduced by only counting on 
days with wind speeds of less than 10 
knots. The counts usually took live hours 
and were carried out around the middle oi~ 
the day and, when possible, within a few 
hours of high tide. Identifications were 
made using 8 < 40 binoculars. 

Total counts in the bay were compared 
with the monthly mean numbers of pen- 
guins coming ashore at Suinmerland 
Beach, Phillip Island and the total numbers 
oi' penguins with eggs or chicks in bur- 
rows. Penguins were counted for 50 min- 
utes from the time of first arrival each 

night as they crossed Suinmerland Beach 
under lights at the Penguin Parade. 
Approximately 60% of birds coming 
ashore each night have done so by the end 
of this period (Montague 1982). The 
breeding data were collected during two- 
weekly visits (and combined in monthly 
samples) to c. 55 burrows at two sites on 
the northern side of Suinmerland Peninsula 
on Phillip Island (see Dann et at. 1995 for 
more details of data collection). 


A total of 2224 penguins was recorded 
on the 36 counts. The mean number (± 
s.i ..) of penguins seen per survey was 61 .7 
± 10.4. Total numbers per count ranged 
from 214 (April 1994) to (June, 
November 1991 and February 1994) 
(Table 1). Greater numbers were found 
from mid-autumn to early winter in most 
years (April to June 1991, April to July 
1992, April and May, 1993 and March to 
May 1994) and occasionally in late spring 
and early summer (October and December 
1992 and September and November 1993) 
(Tig. 2). 

Comparisons of total counts in the bay 
with monthly means of penguins coining 

Vol. 118(3)2001 


Research Reports 


1. Num 

3ers of 


counted each 

month between 

i April 

1991 and August 


nc = not counted. 




















A pi- 

















































ashore at Summerland Beach on the south- 
em shore of Phillip Island showed no sig- 
nificant correlation (r = 0.3 I, df - 34, p > 
0.05). Similarly there was no significant 
relationship found between the counts of 
penguins in Western Port during the breed- 
ing period and the number of penguin bur- 
rows on Phillip Island containing eggs or 
chicks (r = 0.09, df = 18, p > 0.05). The 
absence of correlations between these vari- 
ables suggests that the number of birds 
using Western Port is not related to atten- 
dance patterns or breeding activity on 
Phillip Island. 

We attempted to estimate the total number 
of penguins frequenting Western Port by 
calculating the percentage of the bay cov- 
ered by the counts and, assuming that the 
penguins were distributed in a representa- 
tive manner on the transects, extrapolating 
from the mean and maximum counts 
accordingly. We also assumed that there 

were no penguins in the shallow parts of the 
bay and that the field of view was 500 m on 
either side of the transect. Both of the latter 
of these assumptions were tested in the field 
and found to be valid. No penguins were 
seen during extensive searches over inter- 
tidal areas of the bay at high tide on the first 
two surveys suggesting that these areas 
were not important feeding areas for pen- 
guins. In addition we experimented with 
penguin-sized objects floating on the sea's 
surface and found that these could be seen 
up to 500 m from the boat providing wind 
speeds were less than 15 knots. Calculated 
in this manner, we estimated that the total 
counts covered 55.8% (81 knv) of the area 
of the bay judged as likely to be frequented 
by penguins (145.2 km 2 ). In April 1994, 
when the number of penguins counted in 
the bay was greatest (214), we estimate that 
the total number in the bay was 383 (214 x 
100/ 55.8). Similarly, the mean for all 
counts (57.4; Table 1) gave an estimate of 
103 birds. 

The seasonal pattern of penguin abun- 
dance in Western Port is illustrated by the 
monthly means of all counts (Fig. 3). 
Higher numbers of penguins were found in 
late autumn and winter and the lowest 
means were in mid and late summer. 

The penguins were located mainly in the 
western and northern arms of the bay (Fig. 
1 ). Relatively few birds were seen in the 
shallower eastern arm and none over inter- 
tidal areas. The highest numbers of pen- 
guins per kilometre of transect were found 
along two transects in the centre of the bay 
at the confluence of the western, northern 
and eastern arms (Fig. 1 ). 







i.. ii nil. ill. 


3 3 

O CD °- 

C U) *X O £1 

<D o Q- 

C O) 


Fig. 2. The total numbers of Little Penguins counted each month in Western Port between April 
1991 and August 1994. N denotes missing counts. 


The Victorian Naturalist 

Research Reports 

Table 2. 



of Little 


ns reeord- 

ed at sea 

in Western Port. 

Group Size 


ber of G 












































































Group sizes were small, 49% (437) of 
884 groups consisted of single birds and 
94% of groups consisted of five birds or 
fewer (Table 2). In October 1992, I 12 
birds were observed in one group feeding 
with terns and gulls at the confluence of 
the northern and western arms but groups 
of 20 birds or more were seen on only 
seven occasions. 

Penguins were seen feeding in conjunc- 
tion with terns and gulls on a number of 




Fiji- 3. The mean numbers { t S.E.) of Little Penguins counted each 
month in Western Port between April 1991 and August 1994, 

occasions and these aggregations appeared 
to be associated with large schools of bait- 
fish. Fig. 4 is an echosounding trace taken 
where penguins and Crested Terns Sterna 
bergii were feeding together and shows 
schools of baitfish that have apparently 
been driven to the surface by predatory 
tlsh (Frank Hoedt, pets, comm.) and hence 
made available to feeding seabirds. 

Over the past 25 years there have been 
many reports of penguins on and around 
Barriliar Island to the north-west of French 
Island (Bird Observer's Club of Australia- 
Western Port Survey, impiihl. data). In 
March 1993 we visited the island and 
found one penguin chick almost at Hedg- 
ing age in one burrow, and one moulting 
adult in another. Two other empty burrows 
appeared to be in regular use. A second 
visit in March the following year revealed 
a similar number of burrows in use. This 
small group of breeding birds (probably 
eight in total) presumably accounted for 
the small number of penguins occasionally 
seen at the top of the north arm. 


Significance of Western Port for Little 


These surveys and recent radio-tracking 
studies (Collins et al. 1999) have shown 
that more penguins feed in Western Port 
than previous studies suggested. For exam- 
ple, none of the 67 penguins from Phillip 
Island that had been followed by radio- 
tracking between 1986-87 went into 
Western Port (Weavers 1992). This may 
have been because the birds that were 
radio-tracked by Weavers came from the 
southern side of the 
S urn m e r 1 a n d Peninsula 
rather than the northern side 
that faces Western Port 
(Dann el at. 1992). 
Similarly, none of the 413 
penguins that were banded 
(with individually num- 
bered flipper lags) on 
Phillip Island between 1968 
and 1988 and found dead 
away from the Island, was 
found inside Western Port 
(Dann et al. 1992). Most of 
the shores of Western Port 
arc mangrove-lined with 

Vol. 118(3)2001 


Research Reports 




4U - 

Fig. 4. An echosoimding trace of haiilish schools that have been driven to the surface by predatory 
llsh. Hie lower of the two horizontal lines above the sea surface represents where penguins were 
observed feeding in relation i<> the haiilish schools and the higher, Crested rerns Sterna bergfL 
Diagram and interpretation provided b> Frank lloedt 

extensive intertidal mudflats (Shapiro 
1975) and it may be thai beach-washed 
penguins (the major source of band recov- 
eries away from Phillip Island) are rarely 
discovered in these areas. 

The largest number of penguins using 
Western Port during this study was esti- 
mated to be J83 and the mean for all the 
estimates was 103 penguins. It is estimated 
that there are approximately 24-28,000 
breeding penguins on Phillip Island (Mike 
Cullcn, unpubl, data), \ 'sing the middle of 
this range (26,000), the estimated maxi- 
mum number of birds in Western Port 
(383) was I 5% of the breeding population 
on Phillip Island. 

Distribution in Western Port 

The western arm, and to a lesser extent, 
the northern arm, were the more important 
feeding areas for penguins in Western Port. 
Both this survey and radio-tracking studies 
(Collins ei <//. 1999) have highlighted the 
importance of the western arm to penguins 
in autumn, a reflection in part of the prox- 
imity of this part of the ba> to the breeding 

colony. The high numbers per kilometre in 
the central part o\' the bay suggest that the 
availability oi' food may have been higher 
there. It may be that the mixing of different 
water masses at the confluence of the three 
arms of the b a y creates conditions 
favourable to the prey species o\' penguins. 
The convergent fronts associated with tidal 
plumes have been identified as physical 
processes that may enhance seabitd forag- 
ing (see Hawke 1996 and references there- 
in). By contrast to penguins, observations of 
Australian bur Seals Arctocephalus pusillus 
were fairly evenly spread throughout the 
bay and Hotllenose Dolphins Tursiops f/wi- 
vatus were ['ou\k\ more frequently at the two 
entrances to Bass Strait (Dann ei ai 1996). 

The group size of penguins in Western 
Port showed some similarity to that report- 
ed for penguins seen at sea in Port Phillip 
Ba> (Norman 1992a). In this study, 94% of 
groups consisted of five birds or fewer, and 
in Norman's (1992a) surveys, 93.7% of 
groups consisted of five birds or fewer (cal- 
culated from his Tabic 5). However twice 
as many birds were solitary in this study. 


The Victorian Naturalist 

Research Reports 

Seasonal occurrence of penguins in 
Western Port 

Peak numbers occurred in April and Ma\ 
and lowest numbers in January and 
February. Brager and Stanley (1999) found 
peaks in abundance of White-flippered 
Penguins Eudypntla minor albosignata in 
inshore waters around the Banks Peninsula 
in New Zealand in autumn and spring also 
but had no information on pre> abundance 
or distribution for comparison. Peak num- 
bers of penguins in Western Poll coincided 
with the latter part of the seasonal occur- 
rence of Juvenile pilchards and anchovies 
in the bay in late summer and autumn 
(lloedt et al. 1995). The food supply oi~ 
penguins between spring and autumn may 
be large!) dependent on the appearance of 
spawning adult fish near Phillip Island 
(Culien et al. 1992; Hoedt et ai. 1995) and 
the subsequent pulse of young recruits 
(late summer and autumn) hatched from 
the spawning. The increased use of 
Western Port by penguins in autumn may 
be caused as much by the depletion o\' 
adult fish outside the bay as the arrival of 
juvenile fi$h inside the bay and hence not 
precisely reflect the liming of the latter 


This project was funded b\ l.sso, BMP 
Petroleum, BMP Co mm unit) Trust and the 

Phillip Island Nature Park and We would like to 
express our gratitude to these organisations for 
nil Ifreir support, We are indebted to Darrell 
Bra) and Ian Hulher for their capable boat han- 
dling, to Wend) DWmore and I earnie Renwick 
who provided considerable assistance in the 
field sometimes under difficult conditions and, 
to Marion Wood ulio kindly transferred mosl of" 

the tape recorded information to data sheets. 
Additional help was generous I) given hy Maria 
Belvedere, Mark Collins, I rank lloedt and 
Wetgens Dimmlich. We are also grateful to Ian 
Norman and Mike Culien for their comments on 
drafts of this paper. 


Brager, s. and Stanley, s. (1999), Near-shore distribu- 
tion and seasonal abundance of Whfte-flippered 
Penguins [Eudyptula minor albosignata) al Banks 
Peninsula New Zealand, Vo?w/as46 1 (65 I72 

( ollins, M„ ( Llll e[1 J M. and Dann. I' ( 1999) 
Seasonal and annual foraging movements ol I ittli 
Penguins from Phillip Island, Victoria. Wildlife 
ft , „■ ti26, ■'■■ ! 

Culien. J.M., Montague. T.L. aiul Mull. C. (1992). 
I ood nf Little Penguins Eudyptula minor in Victoria: 
comparison of three localities between 1985 and 
1988. Em,u9l } 318-341. 

Dann. P.. Callen, J.M. and Je&sop, R..E. (1995). The 
cost of reproduction in Little Penguins, In 'The 
Penguins: Ecology and Management", pp. 39-55. Eds 
P. Dann, I .1. Norman and P. Reilly. (Surrey Beam 
and Sons: Svdney.) 

Dann. P., Wop. R E, and Ileal). M. 1 1996). The dis- 
tribulion and abundance of Australian Pur Seals 
Art i<n cjiinilus pasillus and Bottle-nose Dolphins 
Tur&lopi trutiCtttux in Western Port. Victoria. The 
Victorian Naturalist 113, 506-3 1 0. 

Dann. P., l.ovn. K.lf and Bingham, P. (1994). I en 
years of waterbrrd counts in Western Port, Victoria. 
1973-83^ II. Waders, gulls and terns, iuntralran Bird 
Watcher 15. 351-365. 

Dann. P.. Culien. J.M.. liiodav. K. and Jcssop, K, 
(1992). Movements and patterns of mortality at sea 
of Little Penguins Eitdvptula minor from Phillip 
Island. hnn**\, 278-256. 

Ilauke. D.J. (1996). Relatively infrequent seabird 
aggregation ai nearehore (rents and tidal plumes at 
locations around Hanks Peninsula. New Zealand. 
\oiomi*, 43, 66-70. 

I Lini--. M.P. and Noiinan. I .1. 1 1981 ). rhe distribution 
and status "i coastal colonies ofseabifds in Victoria, 
Memoirs of ///r National Museum ai Victoria 42, 89- 

Hoedt, I .. Dimmlich, W. and Dann. P. (1995). 
Seasonal variation in the species and size-com posi- 
tion of elupeoid assemblages in Western Port, 
Victoria, Mornii' on,/ Freshwater Research 46 a I0S5- 
1 09 I . 

Learmonth, N.F. (1966). "Birds of Portland (Victoria) 
District*. { Portland I icld Naturalists Club.) 

Loyn, R.H., Dann. P, and Bingham, P. (1994). len 
years of watcrbird counts in Western Port. Victoria, 
1-973-83. I. Waterfowl and large wading buds 
\ustraUan Bird Watch ) 15, J33-350. 

Montague. 1. 1.. 1 198 I). I he thud and feeding ecology 
of I iitle Penguin Eudyptula motor at Phillip Island, 
Victoria. Australia. Unpublished M Sc. thesis. 
Monash i ittiversrK , 

Norman. F.I, ( 1992a). Courtis of Little Penguin-, 
Eudypttda minor in Port Phillip Ba) and off southern 

PI p Island Victoria. 1986-1988. Emu 91, 287 


Norman, i I, (i99?b|, Distribution and abundance 6i 
seahirds olT Phillip Island and wilhin Porl Phillip 
Ba>. Victoria. 1986-1988 Emu- 91, 377-394. 

Pescott, I . (19S3), 'Birds ofCeelong'. (Neptune Press: 
Newi'. ■■■■■', n ( reclOng.J 

Shapiro. M..V { 1975). Westemport Ba\ I tivironmental 
Studv 1973-74. (Minlstrj of Conservation, Victoria. 

Simpson, K { l'-n2». -Birds in Has-. SuaitM \. II $ \ 
W. Reed; Sydnej I 

fasker, M.L._ Mope Jones, P, Dixon, I and Blake, 
B.I (I9N4), Counting seabird. .n .c., horn ships: a 
review of methods employed and a suggestion lor a 

standardised approach. Auk 101,567-577. 
Weavers, B.W, (1992), Seasonal foraging ranges and 
travels ai sea of I ittle Penguins Eudvptula minor 
determined by radio-tracking. Emu 91, 502-3 1?, 

Wheeler, W K. (1981;. "The Birds of Phillip Island'. 
(Western i'on Bud Observer's £ lub: Phillip Island.) 

Vol. 118(3)2001 


Research Reports 

New Tanjilian Fossil Localities at 
Dungaree Creek, Central Victoria 

Clem Earp 1 


Forestry work in the Matlock district, central Victoria, Australia, has temporarily revealed two new 
fossil localities in the Norton Gully Sandstone, Walhalla Group, of Pragian-Emsian (Early 
Devonian) age. The fauna, a 'Tanjilian' marine fossil assemblage of Panenka bivalve molluscs, 
dacryoconaiids, and orthoconic nautiloids, is briefly described, and a summary of relevant literature 
is given. From qualitative and quantitative observations of the sedimentology, it is concluded that the 
fossils are allochthonous and were deposited by turbidity currents, with no sign Of reworking bj 
storm wave action. ( 7%e Victorian NiUurutisf I IS (3), 2001, 82-88.) 


The term 'TanjilHn* was coined by 
Chapman (1914, 1926) as a tentative name 
for a rock series characterised by a small 
sel of distinctive fossils. The first of these 
had been described by McCoy (1879) from 
the Tanjil goldfield in west Gippsland. 
This location was lost and Gill (1941) 
renamed the series 'Jordanian', claiming 
that it did not occur in the Tanjil area at all. 

Thomas (1953) reported the rediscovery 
of the original location, but further geolog- 
ical mapping has made the term obsolete 
as a slratigraphic name. The name now 
seems restricted to a subset of Chapman's 
original group of fossils, which form a dis- 
tinctive assemblage in a Lower Devonian 
marine formation, the Norton Gully 
Sandstone unit of the Walhalla Group 
(VandenBcrg 1975). 

A Tanjilian assemblage typically con- 
tains three types of fossils: 

• bivalve molluscs, usually belonging to 
the genus Panenka, although a few other 
genera are known; 

■ dacryoconarids, small conical-shelled 
planklonic animals, referred to in older lit- 
erature as tentaeulites and pteropods; 

• orthoconic (straight-shelled) nautiloids. 
Braehiopods, so characteristic of the 

Victorian Devonian, do not occur in the 
assemblage but are common enough in 
other horizons of the Norton Gully 
Sandstone. Conversely, the Tanjilian 
species seldom occur outside this assem- 
blage. A notable exception is the occurrence 
of the Tanjilian dacryoconarid Nowakia in 
limestone at Tyers River (Cooper 1 973). 

1 1/270 Albcn Road. South Melbourne, Victoria 3205. 

Dungaree Creek fossil localities 

The Warburton-Woods Point road close- 
ly follows the old Yarra Track after it pass- 
es Monty's Camp 70 km east of 
Warburlon. The area contains several 
important Palaeozoic fossil localities, 
among which may be mentioned the 19- 
Mile Quarry (type locality of 
Baragwanathia long\folia\ Lang and 
Cookson 1935), Mt. Matlock (Ordovician 
and Silurian graptolites; Harris and 
Thomas 1947), and Frenchman Spur 
(Early Devonian plants; Tims and 
Chambers 1984). 

The road runs along the crest of the Great 
Dividing Range at an altitude of 1000 m. 
The district is unpopulated, hilly, and cov- 
ered almost completely by a forest of 
Alpine Ash Eucalyptus delegatensis with an 
undergrowth o[ Acacia and Coprosma 
species and Blanket Leaf Bedfordia 
arborescens. The bush and a soil cover of 
up to 2 m mean that rock exposures are lim- 
ited solely to areas of human disturbance, 
such as roads and former building sites. 

In 1994 I noticed a new logging track 
which did not appear on any maps (Fig. 1 ). 
It is 1.2 km east of Fehring's Clearing, and 
branches northwest off the main road just 
past where the road crosses the head of 
Dungaree Creek. The track follows a ridge 
for about 0.75 km, then emerges into a 
burnt clearing (now overgrown). 

Bedrock is first exposed about 0.4 km 
along the track, on the ridge separating 
Dungaree and Oaks Creeks. For the next 
0.3 km, the strata are visible in the surface 
of the bulldozed track, dipping 75 D west 
and slriking 135°. The rock is weathered 
and relatively soft, and consists of yellow 


The Victorian Naturalist 

Research Reports 

mmmm Woods Point road 

• "• old Yarra Track 

• ••• vehicle track 


Fig. 1. Locality map. Dungaree Creek area, fossil localities; A, B - this paper; F73, F74, F75 - spot 
localities of Moore (1965); 18-Mile Quarr\ and 19-Mile Quart 1 ) according to Geological Survey of 
Victoria (Talent 1968). Map drawn from aerial photograph ( 1995) supplied by Qbsco Pty. Ltd. 

and black thin-bedded claystone, siltstone, 
and line to coarse sandstone. 

At one particular point, designated loca- 
tion A (Fig. I ), loose blocks of the bedrock 
have been unearthed, and coarser material 
is evident. Sandstone, weathered pink and 
yellow, is interbedded with the liner sedi- 
ments, and all contain abundant comminut- 
ed plant fragments. Most are preserved as 
mineralised impressions, but some coali- 
fied remains were found. A single sand- 
stone block was found to contain a typical 
Tanjilian fauna. 

At a fork in the track, a low cutting 
exposes red sandstone speckled with mica. 
The west branch of the track is bulldozed 
out of the thick soil cover, which contains 
loose stone blocks. In the area where this 
branch of the track turns to the northwest, 
the blocks are a silvery sandstone, in 
which mica is the main component. The 
bedding planes in these blocks are crowd- 
ed with comminuted plant impressions, but 
because of the lack of mineralisation or 
remnant carbon, and the coarseness of the 
medium, none are identifiable. The source 
of the mica is unknown; possibly the mate- 
rial is reworked from older sedimentary 

Further on, the track winds round the side 
of a small valley, and the aiea is heavily 
churned by logging machinery. Loose 
blocks of graded coarse sediment contain 
well-rounded quartz particles ranging up to 
small granule size (2 mm diameter). The 
only in-place exposure is thin-bedded grey 
mudstone; the dip and strike indicate hill- 
side creep. On the side of the hill near here 
were found loose blocks of yellow and 
grey thin-bedded claystone to sandstone 
containing a well-preserved Tanjilian 
assemblage; this is designated location B 
(Fig. 1). 

A collection in the Museum of Victoria, 
made by G. Bell near Mt. Duffy almost 
exactly 20 km north of Dungaree Creek, 
shows precisely the same lithology and 
fossil assemblage as location B. 

Previous studies 

The references cited previously are all 
relevant to the general Yarra Track area. A 
useful list of all the early fossil localities 
has been compiled by Bell (1956); 
However, faulting is present, and sudden 
lithoiogical changes occur, so that the par- 
ticular interval Of rock observed at 
Dungaree Creek is very unlikely to be the 

Vol. 118(3)2001 


Research Reports 


Fiy. 2. Oriented moulds of Pmmka pUmlcosm shells and a dacryoconarid (arrowed] at the base of a 
sandstone turbidite layer. Location B, 4.5. The arrow points down current. 

same as that at 19-Mile Quarry or 
Frenchman Spur, for example. 

Gill (1941) listed a number of fossil local- 
ities in the area. At the elosest of his locali- 
ties, the 18-Mile Quarry, he recorded the 
typical Tanjilian assemblage of bivalves 
{Pancnku gfppslandica), daeryoeonarids 
iStv/io/ina fissure! la and 'TcntacitlHes*) 
and orthoeeratid nautiloids, as well as the 
plants Zosterophyllum australianum and 
Hedela corymbose. The daeryoeonarids 
were re-examined by Boueek (1968, as 
"locality 60216 s ), who identified several 
other taxa, but some of these were disptited 
by VandenBerg (1975). Recent revisions of 
dacryoconarid species have altered many of 
these identifications (Alberti 1988, 1993, 
1995, 1997, 1998). 

Moore (1965) attempted a detailed 
description of the area from Warburton to 
Woods Point, but his observations were 
limited to road cuttings and his stratigra- 
phy is regarded as unreliable (VandenBerg 
1975). His record of fossils from his loca- 
tion F75, which he equates with the 18- 
Mile Quarry, includes Gill's earlier collec- 
tion, with the addition of the bivalve 
Panenka planicosta, Also from this loca- 
tion, and from two others nearby (F73 and 
F74, see Fig. 1), Moore added 

e Hostimetla\ and 'plant remains indct.\ 
terms which are really synonymous. It is 
important to note that the location shown 
on Moore's map For the 18-Mile Quarry 
does not match that on the later Geological 
Survey maps (Talent 1968; VandenBera 
1975; Fig. 2). 

The area was more closely examined 
towards the early 1970s in connection with 
the Thomson Dam scheme. Talent (1968) 
emphasized the importance of allowing for 
considerable hillside creep when measur- 
ing dips and strikes. Tapp's thesis (1970) 
largely follows Moore. VandenBerg's pre- 
liminary stratigraphy ( 1971 ) contains some 
interesting sections; some of the nomencla- 
ture was published (VandenBerg and 
Schleiger 1972). The definitive stratigra- 
phy is set out in VandenBerg's final report 
(1975); this makes it clear that the 18-Mile 
Quarry and the new exposures all lie in the 
lower part of the Norton Gully Sandstone. 


Only the fauna is discussed here, as none 
of the abundant plant remains are identifi- 
able. The fossils of the Tanjilian fauna at 
Dungaree Creek are represented by 
moulds, with no calcareous shelly matter 


The Victorian Naturalist 

Research Reports 

Fig. 3. Crushed mould of one dacrvoconarid 
shell in longitudinal view, and another 
(arrowed) in transverse view, in shell breccia 
si itstone. Location B. -26. 

Panenka bivalve molluscs 

Phylum Mollusca Class Bivalvia 
Subclass Pteriomorphia Order 

Praccardioida - Family Praecardiidae - 
GenuS Panenka 
Panenka pkmicasta ( hapman 1 90S 

Well-preserved moulds of single valves of 
this species (Tig. 2) were found at location 
B, Unlike other Victorian Panenka, which 
have medium to large shells, this species is 
under 5 mm in diameter. The radial ribs, 
when viewed under a magnifying glass, 
have a groove along their length and ihis 
distinguishes them from juvenile specimens 
of the larger species. Members of the genus 
are said to be deep-water molluscs burrow- 
ing shallow 1\ in a soil sea floor (KHz 1979). 

Interspersed among the Panenka are 
poorly-preserved minute smooth shells, up 
to 0.7 mm diameter. These are presumed to 
be the spat (juveniles) o\P. pianicosla\ the 
association of smooth juveniles and ribbed 
adults is similar lo other bivalve occur- 
rences (e.g. Pojeta et al. 1976, Plate 2, fig. 
4). The same small shells are seen at loca- 
tion A without the adults. 

Fig. 4. Poorly preserved mould of the uncrushed 
apical portion of a nautiloid. Location A. -2. 


Phylum Mollusca - Class I cntaculitoidea 
- Order Daeryoconarida 

The dacryoconarids are fossil remains oi' 
small, narrow conical shells (Figs 2. 3), 
usually appearing in crushed form as nar- 
row isosceles triangles with a prominent 
longitudinal fracture that was once erro- 
neous!} thought to be a characteristic o\ 
the live animal. As the dacryoconarid ani- 
mals were planktonic. they spread freelv 
over the mid-Palaco/oic seas, and can be 
used to correlate and dale strata from dif- 
ferent continents. Most 1 anjilian forms are 
classed as cither styliolinids, with smooth 
or longitudinally striated shells ((".ill 
1941), or nowakiids. with prominent trans- 
verse rings (Cooper 1973). 

Family St\ liolinidae - Genus Styliolina 
Styliolina cf fissurelta (Hail) 
Smooth-shelled Tamilian dacryoconarids 

are assumed to belong to this species. 
which can be distinguished from the other 
Victorian styliolinids Mcfasfyliolina (with 
longitudinal ribs) and Styliacus (with very 
narrow shells) (Albert! 19S8). 

This species of Styliolina would, by 
international comparisons, date the 
Dungaree Creek localities as F.msian or 
younger (Boucek 1968), i.e. latest Pragian 
to /lichovian in the Bohemian stages. 
However, the situation is not quite so cical- 
as that. In Victoria, $. jhsurella has been 
reported from a wide range of localities 
(Garratl 1975), often in conjunction with 
typically Pragian fossils, but ranging down 
to the base of the llumevale Siltslone at 
Lilydale, which is supposedly of earliest 
I ochkovian age. Elsewhere, S, jtssarelia 
has been reported from Alaska (Churkin 
and Carter 1970) and Central Asia (Obut 
1974) from the same graptolile /ones oi' 
the Pragian-I msian as are found in the 

Vol. 118(3)2001 


Research Reports 

Fig. 5. Transverse section through layers of silt- 
stone and claystonc which have been deformed 
underneath a single detached chamber of a nau- 
tiloid shell resting at the base of an overlying 
sandstone bed (now removed). Location A, -o. 

lower Norton Gully Sandstone. On the 
other hand, Boucek (1968) suggested that 
the daeryoconarids from IX-Mile Quarry 
were much younger: Eifelian (Middle 
Devonian), as they are in Europe. The dif- 
ference arises, at least in part, from the 
nondescript nature of the fossils, which 
prevents discrimination of taxa from dif- 
ferent periods. On account of the associa- 
tion with Pragian fossils, it is preferable to 
consider the Victorian occurrences as 
being contemporaneous with those in 
Alaska and Central Asia rather than those 
in Europe. 

Family Nowakiidac Genus Nowakia 
Nowakiu ex gr. acuuria (Kichtcr) 

These are too fragmentary to identify 
precisely. Moreover, the minute rings have 
often become very faint, suggesting the 
possibility (hat some of the apparent st\li- 
olinids are poorly preserved nowakiids. 
Alberti (1995) considers Tanjilian speci- 
mens to be an indeterminable subspecies 
of N. acuuria at lower levels, succeeded by 
tf. mullockicnsis (Chapman). The age 
ranges he gives for these species are late 
Pragian - early Hmsian, The specimens 
from Dungaree Creek belong to the acuur- 
ia species group, lacking the density of 
fine rings seen in N, matlockicnsis. 

Orthoconic nautiloids 

Phylum Mollusca - Class Cephalopoda 
Subclass Nautiloidea - Order Orthocerida 
- Superfamily Orthoceratoidea - Family 
Orthoceratidae - Genus Michciinoccras 

Mic/wIiHoccras sp. indet. 

Sections ol" conch found at location A in 
(Inc-grained pink sandstone. These show a 
circular cross-section, empty central 
siphuncle, and a relatively wide septal sep- 
aration. The remains are commonly 
referred to in Victorian literature as 
'Orthoceras\ however this genus has long 
been restricted to a few species of 
Ordovician age. Modern standards of diag- 
nosis practically rule out any hope of iden- 
tifying leached-out specimens like these, 
as most internal structures have been 
destroyed. The surviving characteristics 
mentioned above are consistent with the 
genus Michciinoccras, which is, indeed, 
where many former 'Orthoccras' species 
are now assigned. 

In contrast to the thin-shelled daery- 
oconarids, which are mostly crushed, the 
nautiloid sections are intact (Fig. 4). The 
pressure of overlying sediments has 
instead pushed them down a little, slightly 
distorting the underlying layers (Fig. 5). 


Recent studies of the Walhalla Group, 
outside the Matlock district, have suggest- 
ed that the sediments were deposited in rel- 
atively shallow water and reworked by 
storm waves (Weir cf al. 1988; Dyson 
1996). Previously, deep-water turbidity 
currents were considered responsible for 
the sedimentation (VandenBerg and 
Schleiger 1972). Insufficient exposures are 
available to allow study of purely sedimen- 
tary structures at Dungaree Creek, but the 
appearance of the fossil remains do permit 
some conclusions to be drawn. 

The Tanjilian assemblages occur in two 
modes: as chaotically arranged three- 
dimensional shell breccia, and as oriented 
shells lying on a single plane. Both contain 
only disarticulated bivalves. Moore (1965) 
was of the opinion that bands of shelly 
Tanjilian fossils represented mass mortali- 
ty episodes caused by turbidity. From the 
appearance of the Pancnku it would seem 
the shells arc the transported remains of 
already disarticulated animals. The associ- 
ation of mineralized comminuted plants 
and small molluscs resembles the "dysox- 
ic' facies of Mapes and Mapes (1997). 
formed by rapid sedimentation at depth. 
The shell breccia forms irregular layers 


The Victorian Naturalist 

Research Reports 

Pig. 6. Rosettes showing the distribution of orientations in 15" intervals of dacryoconands ( V sam- 
ple si/e N=31 ) and f&nenka (B, N*27). The orientation conventions used lor the measurements are 
those ofNagle (1967). shown by the arrows with the small drawings of each shell type, hrom the 
bedding plane part of which is shown in Tig. 2; as the slab was not in plaee, absolute directions 
could not be used; the measurements are relative to the mean orientation direction of the dacry- 

in massive sillstone. Panenka valves are 
oriented at all angles with respect to the 
bedding and to each other. Dacry oeonarids 
are also oriented at angles to the bedding 
(Fig. 3), indicating rapid, turbulent deposi- 
tion (Hladil et al 1996). There are rare 
tabular rip-up clasls of shale. These obser- 
vations suggest rapid deposition from a 
dense turbidity current. 

The layers of oriented fossils seem to 
form at the junction of a breccia layer with 
an overlying band of line sandstone, and 
probably represent reworking of the brec- 
cia by current scouring. Panenka valves all 
rest concave side down, and dacr> oeonar- 
ids lie on their sides {Fig. 2). As cleavage 
is planar at the base of the sandstone, it is 
possible to measure the longitudinal orien- 
tation of the shells using the plastic sheet 
method (Schleiger 1969). The results are 
shown diagrammatical ly in Fig. 6, and 
may be compared with the classic findings 
ofNagle (1967) on the differences 
between wave and Current orientation. The 
unimodal orientation of the conical dacry- 
oconarids unambiguously indicates current 
action, and this is supported by the strong 
orientation of the Panenka, even though it 
is of a shape which Nagle found to be rela- 
tively insensitive to currents. 

I he absolute palaeocurrent direction can- 
not be determined from the material avail- 
able. Tapp (1970) recorded currents from 
due west at a number of Tanjilian locali- 

ties, and this is consistent with recent, 
more accurate measurements from more 
distant localities of the Norton Gully 
Sandstone along the same structural trend 
as the study area (Powell el al, 1998). 


The sediments al Dungaree Creek are of 
late Pragiari or early Etnsian age. The pres- 
ence of coarse sandstone, and the orienta- 
tion of the fossils, indicate turbidity cur- 
rents; there is no evidence of wave action 
from the limited observations. Soft-sedi- 
ment deformation under hard fossils, 
preservation of abundant plant remains, 
reworking and random orientation of shell 
breccia all indicate a period of rapid depo- 


I hanks lo James Calder (Acme Photographic 
Lab) for the quality enlargements to specifica- 
tion, and lo the anonymous referees lor their 


Mhnii. G.K..B. ( t o s s > . Siratigraphische 
Untergliederung einfger I ochkovium/Pragium- 
Grenzprofile (Unter-Devon) in NW-Marokko, 

OlHTlnniken und Victoria (SI -Ausinilien) aul'Gruml 

viHi Dacryoconariden und Conodonten. 

Sriukciihci^iana hihaca <iN. 479-493. 

Alberts, (j.k.U- (1993). Dacryoconaride und 

hoinin'tenKle I ciilaeulilen dus Unlei- und Mitlel- 
Devons, I. Coupler Forsckung&instltut Stmdcenk&rg 

158. I- ! n > 
Mk-iii, f r.K II. ( ITO). IManktonie tenlaculilid correla- 
tion with luikkIoiH /nnalion in the soulh-eaM 

Australian i ower Devonian. ( ourter 
I or ichunssimnitul Senckenht ra 1S2. 557-558, 

Vol. 118(3)2001 


Research Reports 

Alheni, (i.k.H. (1997). Planktonischc lentakulitcn tics 
Devon. II. Daeryocoharida Fischer 1962 aus dem 
Unlet- und MiliekDevon. Mil einem mikrofa/icllen 
Beitrag vun T. C. IKiskcn. Paiaeontographica A246, 

Alhcrti, GXB. (I99X). Planklonische Icnlakulilcn des 
Devon. III. Dacryoconarida kisehcr (£62 aus dem 
U ivlcr-De v it n u n d o be re 1 1 M i 1 I c I - 1 >e v o n . 
Putueontographica A250, 1-46, 

Bell, (i. (1956), Geology and mining summary of the 
Upper Goulburn - Big River District. Unpublished 
report I956/2N, Geological Survey of Victoria. 

Boucek. B. (1968), Significance oi Daeryoconarid 
I enlaculiles and (.iraptobtes for ihc siraligraphy and 
pillaeogeography Df (lie Devonian Syslcru. In 
"International Symposium on the Devonian System, 
Calgary 1967", vol, 2. pp. I275-I2XI. Ed. D.ll. 
' fJWBld. (Alberta Soeiely of Petroleum Geologists: 
' .ih:.n\.) 

Chapman, I . <l u 0X). A monograph of ihe Silurian 
hivalved Mollusea oF Victoria. Memoirs of the 
National Museum at Victoria!* 1-62. 

( h-apman, P. (1914). On the palaeontology of ihc 
Silurian of Victoria. //; 'Report of the Fourteenth 
Meeting of Ihc Australasian Associalion Tor the 
\d\aneenicui ol Science*, pp. 207-235. Id US. I kill. 
( Air-aialasian Association for ihe Advancement of 
Science: MfilbourneO 

Chapman, I'. ( 1926). On ihc question ol' ihe Devonian 
age af* the Tanjilian fauna and flora of Vieloria, In 
•Report ok ihe Seventeenth meeting ok the 
Australasian Association lor ihe Advanccmcnl e>\~ 
Science*, pp. M3-3-18. Ed. I..K. Ward. (Australasian 
Associalion I'or the Advanccmcnl of Science: 

( hurkin. M. and Carter, C. ( 1970). Devonian tentaculi- 
lids oil last-Central Alaska, syslemalics and hiostraii- 
maplne significance, Journal of Paleontology 4-4. 5 1 

Cooper, H..I. (1973). Discovery ol' lenlaeulitcs in the 

limestone at 1 vers. Victoria. Tfte Victorian Naturalist 

90. 192 I'M. 
Dyson, I A (3996). Significance ol" hummocky cross- 

siralifieation and quasi-planar lamination in the 

I iiucr Devonian Walhalla Group, Victoria. 

Australian Journal Of l-.orlh Sciences 43, IX')- 199, 

(iarratt, M.J, ( 1975). Notes on the geologj ok ihc Van 

Yean and Kinglake l:6>.W>() geological maps. 

I upLiblishcd report 1975/57, Geological Survey of 

(iilk I D. ( l l MI ). Ihe place ok the genus Stylio/ina in 

the Palaeozoic palaeontology and siratigrapln ok 

Victoria. Proceedings of the Roval Societv Of 

Victoria 53, 145-164. 
Harris, Vv J, am! fhomas, D.E. (U>47). Notes on the 

geology ol the Yarra Track area near Mount Matlock. 

Mining tiuJ i tcoli>\>JC(il Journal 3. 4 7 1 - 4 A > . 
Illadil, .'.. ( ejehan. P., Ouhasova, A., Ideaborsky. /. 

and llladikova, J. (19961. Sedimcnlology and orien- 

laiion ol tentaeulile shells m turbidite lime inudsioric 

lo pack si one: I oner Devonian. Harrandian. 

Bohemia. Journal of Sedimentary ftesearch 66, 888- 

KrlZ. I. I 1979). Devonian Bivalwa. Special Papers m 

Palaeontology!^ 255-257. 
Lang, W II. and Cpokson, I.e. lU'Vs). On a flora, 

including vascular laud planls, associaied wilh 

Mottogt'apktSu in rocks Of Silurian age, from Victoria. 
Australia. Philosophical I'ransaetmnx of the Royal 
Society of London 8224,421-449 
Mapcs, R.ll. and Mapes, G- (1997). Biotic destruction 
ol terrestrial plant debris in the I. ate Paleozoic 
marine environment, l.etltaia 29, 157-169. 
McCoy, k. 1 1879). C 'ardium gi ppsl and ic turn. 

Prodramus of the Palaevjtfohgy qf 'Victoria 6, 73. 
Moore, U.K. (1965), the geology of the tipper Yarra 
region, Central Victoria. Proceedings of the Royal 
Society of Victoria^, 22K239 
Nagle, IS. (1967). Wave and current orientation ol' 
shells. Journal of Sedimentary Petrology 37, I 1 24- 
I 138. 
Obtit, A.M. 1 1974), Ni/hnedevonskie graptolitl v sred- 
ner A/ii, Trudy instituta geologti i geofiziki 
Jkailcnna Sauk SSSR sihirskoe otdelenic 95, 134- 
pojeta, T. Kri/. .1. and Bcrdan, .I.M. (1976). Silurian- 
Devonian peleeypods and Paleo/oie stratigraphy of 
subsurface rocks in Florida and Georgia and related 
Silurian peleevpods from Bolivia and Turkey. US 
Geological Survey Professional Papers 879, 1-29, 
I'owelk ( McA.. Baillic, l\W. and VandcnBerg 
A MM. (199S4. Silurian to mid-Devonian basm 
development ok the Melbourne /one, Lnchlan told 
Bell, Southeastern Australia. I Unpublished report 
1998/5, Geological Survey ol" Victoria. 
Schleiger, N.W. (1969), Problems in sampling ihe ori- 
entation ol' fossils in a graploliic band at I aglchawk, 
Vieloria. Proceedings of the Royal Society of 
I ieioruiHl, 161-177, 
Talent, J.A. ( I96X), (ieologieal report on the proposed 
tunnel to divert water IVom Ihc Thompson River to 
Ihe Upper Yarra Dam. Unpublished report I96S Id. 
( ieologieal Survey of Victoria. 
lapp, B.A. (1970). Ihc stratigraphy and structure ol' 
the Upper Yarra - Thomson River region of East- 
Central Vieloria. Australia. Unpublished Master's 
kliesis, Universit) of Sheffield, England. Copy in die 
(ieologieal Survey library. Melbourne 
Thomas, D.I . (1953), lanjilian fossils. Mining and 

Geological Journal 5, 27. 
firns, ID. and Chambers, f.C. (V984). Rhy niophy lina 
and Trimerophyliria from ihe early land flora of 
Victoria, Australia, f'ulaennfo/o-jy 27, 265-279, 
\ 'andenBerg, VI I.M. (1971 ). Report on the geolog} ol 
the Upper Yarra-t .'pper Ihomson Catchment Area 
Unpublished report I97U23, Geological Survev ol 
VandcnBcrg, A.II.M. (1975). Definitions and deserip- 
lion of Middle Ordovician io Middle Devonian rock 
units of the Warburlon district, fast Central Vieloria 
Geological Swx'ey of Victoria Report 1975/6. 
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I'alaeogeog.iaphic and leelonie significance oi 
iliachronism in Siluro4)evonian age llyseh sedi- 
menls, Melbourne Trough, Southeastern Australia: 
Discussion. Bulletin of the Geological Soetetv of 
imeneaHy 1565-1570. 
Weir, J.C,, Tcnton. M.W., 'I omlmson, M.K. and 
Wilson, I'.. 1. 1 . (1988), Sedimentology of (he Uatly 
Devonian Walhalla (iroup at Walhalla, Vieloria 
. Uistralian Journal of Earth Sciences 55, 405-4 1 9. 

lor^sMstuiKV wilh [he preparation of this issue, thanks U> Karen Dobson and Maria 
Belvedere (label printing). Doroth) Mahler (administrative assistanee) and Michael 
McBaln (web page). 


The Victorian Naturalist 


Addendum to 4 Moss Collections from Lord Howe Island in the 
National Herbarium of Victoria (MEL)' 

Josephine Milne 1 and Arthur W. Thies 1 


Plagiothecium koweartum Mull. Hal. ex Jaeger, nomen nudum is Ectropathecium leucochlorum 
(Hampe) Broth., the spelling of which is corrected. {The V'wtnrim Naturalist 1 1S (3). 2001. 89-9J.) 

Hampe (1874) described a new species, 
Drepano-hypmtm leucochlorum , from 
Lord Howe Island This grammatically 
correct specific epithet ending is repeated 
in Hampe (1880), with the citation of 
Hypnum (Sect. Dreparto-Hypnum) leu 
cochlorurn. According to the International 
Code of Botanical Nomenclature, this orig- 
inal spelling of the epithet must stand. 

Mitten (1883) introduced the combina- 
tion Stereadan leucochlorum ( sic i 
(Hampe) Mitten. Paris (1904, p. 54) refers 
to the name Hvpuum leucochloron 
(Hampe) Jaeger with Drepono-I Ivpnum 
leucochloron and Stereodon leucochlorus 
as synonyms. Brotherus (1908) transferred 
the species to Ectropofkeciunii as E. leu- 
cochloron (Hampe) Broth. 

The name Plagiothecium haweanum was 
published without description as a nomen 
nudum bv Jaeger (1878), attributed to 
Mull. Hal., citing 'Lord Howe's Island ad 
truncos [FuUager [sic])*. There is a collec- 
tion identified as this species from Lord 
Howe Island collected b> I ullagar (the 
correct spelling) at MEL (MEL 32391), 
and is likely to he the material referred to 
by Jaeger. Although there are no other col- 
lections in other Australian herbaria, dupli- 
cates may exist elsewhere. In any case, the 
specimen has no formal status as type 
since the name was not validly published. 
The collection (MEL 32391) also contains 
a label 'Plaly-Hypnum Howeanuni C. 
Muller", apparently in Hampe's hand 
(Thies (2000) incorrectf) cited the label as 
'( vrto-Hypnum howeanuni CM/). 

rhies (2000) suggested, on the basis of 
MEL .32391 that P. haweanum 'seems to 
be a good species', However, further 
examination of the material has shown that 

Kovul Botanic Gardens Melbourne, Bird wood 

il 1 . South Yarrn. Victoria 1 1 -t I . 

MEL 32391 is actually Ectropathecium 
leucochlorum (Hampe) Broth., and agrees 
with several other collections o\' 
Fullagar's, correctly identified. The 
species was subsequent!) collected on 
Lord Howe Island b\ W.w'. Walts in 1911 
(c. 40 collections - specimens in NSW) 
and more recently by D.I I. Vitt. in 1981, 
(specimen in CANB; dupl. in ALTA). 

Ectropathecium k-ucochlorum, which is 
endemic to Lord Howe Island, is a small, 
delicate moss with a creeping habit (Fig. 
la). It often has numerous side branches 
on which perigonia (male reproductive 
structures) usually occur. The stems and 
branches are c. 0.1 mm diameter and in 
cross-section the stem consists of outer 
Stereid cells (small thick-walled cells), a 
core of wide cells, and lacks a central 
strand (fig. lb). Delicate filamentous or 
two cell wide hyaline (colourless) 
pseudoparaphyllia (minute lllaments borne 
on the stem) occur at the base of branches 
(Fig- Ic-d). Leaves are non-decurrent (with 
leaf margins not extending down the stem 
below the point of insertion), generally spi- 
rally inserted and branch leaves are some- 
what smaller than stem leaves. The leaves 
are narrow!) obowitc-acumiuate (I ig. le), 
occasional I) falcate (sickle-shaped leaf tip) 
(fig. If), lack a nerve and the leaf margin 
is entire (Fig. le). Leaf cells are smooth, 
linear and thin-walled (Fig. Ig), and those 
at the basal corner ol the leaf (alar cells) 
can vary from Undifferentiated to great l> 
inflated (fig. Ihj. The sporophyte occurs 
on the main stem and the seta (c. 0.6- 
1.6cm) is red, smooth and twisted to the 
left. I he capsule lacks stomala and an 
annulus (specialized ring of cells around 
the rim of the capsule mouth). 1 he peris- 
tome (teeth at capsule opening) is double 
and spores arc 10-12 um diameter. 

Vol. 118(3)2001 




Fig. 1. MEL 32391. a) Plant habit; h) stem cross-section; c)-d) pseudoparaphyllia at origin of 
branches (MS = main stem, SBR = side branch); e) stem and branch leaves; falcate leaf; g) lamina 
cells at mid leaf; h) cells near stem insertion. Scale bars a) 2 mm, b)-d) 50 u.m, e)-f) 300 njn, g)-h) 
250 mn. 


The Victorian Naturalist 



We thank an anonymous reviewer who pointed 
out the true affinity of the specimen labelled as 
Plagiothecium howeanum with Ectropothecium; 
Prof. R.D. Seppelt and Dr T. Ma\ for their valu- 
able comments. Dr. A. Veenstra-Quah for assis- 
tance with the figures, the curator of NSW for 
the loan of herbarium specimens and staff at 
AD, BRI, CANB, HO and PliRTH for checking 
holdings of herbarium specimens of this species. 


Brotherus. V. ( 1 90S). Stere-odonteae. In 'Die natiir- 
lichen Pflanzenf'amifien". T. I, Abt. 3, II. II., pp. 
I062-I07N. UK A. Engler and K. fraud. 
(Engelmann: Leipzig.) 

Hampe, E. (1874), Species museorum novas ex 

Hcrhario Melhourneo Australiae exposuii. Linnaea 

Hampe, E. (1880). Musei Frondosi Australiae conti- 

nentalis, praesertim s Baronis de Mueller eolleetion- 

ibus. hi P.v. Mueller: Fragmettta Phytographiae 

Australiae 1 1, suppl. 3, 45-52, 
Jaeger, A. (1878). Adumhralio florae museorum loiius 

orbis ten-arum. Berichte der Thatigkeit der St 

Getllischen Natiirwissen&chajtlichen Gesellschafi 

Mitten, W. (1883). Australian Mosses, enumerated hy 

William Mitten Esq, Transactions & Proceedings oj 

the Ecyal Society of Victoria 19, 4')-%, 
Paris, E.G. (1904), 'Index Rryologieus, 2nd edition, 

Vol. _V (Hermann: Pans.) 
I'hies, A.W (2000). Moss Collections from Lord Howe 

[stand in the National Herbarium of Victoria (MEL). 

The Victorian Naturalist 117, 10-13. 

Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act 1988 

The Flora and Fauna Guarantee 
tions in relation to nominations 
Guarantee Act 1988. The follow 


Final Recommendations 
Acacia phasmoidea 
Acacia phlebophyllo 
Acianthus collinus 
Aprasia striotsta 
Babingtonia crenuiata 
Caladertia sp. aff venitsta 
Caladertia cornea var. subttfata 
Caladertia colcrata 
Caladertia crucijbrmis 
( aladenia insularis 
Caladenia pilotensh 
Caiudcnia vulidu 
( 'aladenia versicolor 
( alomnion complanatum 
( Tithonicola sagittate/ 
Engaeus ra&trogaieatus 
Egernia Coventry i 
Gaultheria hispida 
Li tor at booroolongensis 
Litoria raniformls 
I itoria verreauxii alpina 
\4acronecte& giganteus 

Morroncc/cs iutlii 

Metanodryah cticullata 
Megaptera novaeangliae 
Veuropogon acromelanus 
Nyctophilia timoriensis 
Oreoica gutturalis 
Peronomy rmex 'bartoni 
Persoonia asperula 
Prasophyllum fasteri 
Prasophyllum morganit 
Prasophyllum niphopediwn 
Pratia gel Ida 

Scientific Advisory Committee has made recommenda- 
for listing under the provisions of the Flora and Fauna 
ing reports have been received: 


Phantom Wattle Supported 

Buffalo Sallow Wattle Supported 

Inland Pixie Caps Supported 

Striped Worm-li/ard Supported 

I em-leaf Baeckea Supported 

Kilsyth South Spider-orchid Supported 

Striped Pink F ingcrs Supported 

Painted Spider-orchid Supported 

( )ichid spp. Supported 

French Island Spider-orchid Supported 

Mt Pilot Spider-orchid Supported 

Robust Spider-orchid Supported 

Candy Spider-orchid Supported 

Tree-fern Calomnion Supported 

Speckled Warbler Supported 

Strzelecki Burrowing ( 'ru\ Supported 

Swamp Skink Supported 

Snow-bcrrv Supported 

Booroolong Frog Supported 

Warty Bell Frog Supported 

Alpine Free Frog Supported 

Southern Giant-Petrel Supported 

Northern Giant -Petrel Supported 

Hooded Robin Supported 

Humpback Whale Supported 

Lichen spp. Supported 

Eastern Long-eared Bat Supported 

Crested liellhird Supported 

Ant sp. Supported 

Mountain Geebung Supported 

I oster's I ,eek-orchid Supported 

( 'obungra I eek-orchid Supported 

Marsh I. eek-orchid Supported 

Snow Pratia Supported 

Vol. 118(3)2001 


Naturalist Nate 

Spccii's/l'rocess/i ominiinilv 

Final Recommendations fcont) 
Ps&udacephalozia paludtcola 
Pteropm poiheephatus 
Pterostyiis aenigma 
Pullanaea iapidosa 
Spyridium mtidum 
Stagonopteura guttata 

Slriilhiitea cincrcn 
Thctymitra hiemalis 

t'liclvimtru yrcynvui 

I'liiiitnits maccoyii 

Kanthoparmella mberodicata 

Victorian temperate woodtand bird community 

The introduction and spread of the large earth 
bumblebee Bombus tetrestris I . into 
Victorian terrestrial environments 

i ess ol terrestrial climatic habitat caused by 
anthropogenic emissions of greenhouse ga ;es 

Preliminary Recommendations 

Euaitacits neodiversus 

( ii iititashhits msolittis 

Hyrldella glenelgmsis 
Pramphvl/um sp, 


Liverwotl Supported 

(ire) -headed FJying-fox Supported 

Enigmatic Greenhood Supported 

Ml Tamho Hush-pea Supported 

Shining Spyridium Supported 

I )iamond Firetail Supported 

Apostlebird Supported 

Winter Sun-orchid Supported 

Balsalt Sun-orchid Supported 

Southern Bluefln I una Supported 

loliose Lichen Supported 

listed as a community Supported 

Potentially Threatening Supported 

PolcnlulK I hreatening Supported 


South (iippsland Spiny (ra> Supported 

W estern Swamp (ray Supported 

( ilenelg Freshwater Mussel Supported 

Swamp I eek-orchid Supported 

Copies of all reports are held in the FNCV library Recommendation reports will be available on 
NRE's web page (htlpi/Avwvv aire. vie. go\ .an). 

A New Zealand Hepatic in Victoria 

I he leafy liverwort Pedinophyllum 
mvnoicum (Stephani) (indie, until novs 
though! to be a New Zealand endemic, has 
been found in cool temperate rajnfore&t in 
the Yiirta Ranges National Park, near 
Marysville. The specimen was collected 
Prom rotting wood and soil by Alex McLean 
of Monash University, while studying the 
bryophytes of Myrtle Beech Nothofagus 
cimnmghamii forest. The identity was con- 
firmed by David (ilcnny, l.andeate 
Research New Zealand 

Although a member o\' the family 
Plagiochilaceae, P monoicitm is at first 
glance ver\ similar to the Common liver- 
wort Chitoscyphuji semitetes (formerly 
Lophocolea semitcrex). However, /' 
momicum has no underleaves, and there are 
copious rhi/oids on the ventral surface on 
the lower parts of the stem. Il is the only 
species in the genus that occurs in 
Australasia (Schuster 1963), Il is described 
m (nolle (I960), fnoue and Schuster { 1071) 
and Allison atul Child ( 1975). 

Il is possible that this species will be 
found elsewhere in Victoria, and in 
Tasmania. For the present it must be consid- 

ered to be endangered (KOI Al* category 
I E) in Australia, according to the criteria set 
out in Scott ei al, (1997). Under the criteria 
currently used in Victoria it might also be 
classified as endangered in the State (I). 
Cameron, HRE Victoria, pers, comm.\ but 
no formal assessment of its conservation 
status has been made. 


Allison. K..W. and Child, .1, (1975), 'The I iverworts nl 
New Zealand*. (University QfOiago Press: Dunedin), 

Grolle, R. (I%0). Ubej Plagiochila monoica St„ /' 
carnxt.ia Herz. niul /' Tahatii Kaal. unit ihre 
Bezel chntingen /u PedinaphvUum, Nova Hedwivta 
J(l-2\287 29J, plate 49 

Inoue, tl. and Schuster, r.m. (1971). A monograph of 
New Zealand and Tasmanian PlagiochUaceae. Jownal 
of the I teuton Botanical Laboratory 34, I-.' 15, 

ScIiuml-i*, r.m. ( 11)63). Studies on antipodal Hepaticac. I. 
Annotated keys to the genera of antipodal Hepaticae 
with special reference to New Zealand and lasmania. 
Journal of tin- Notion Botanical Laboratmy 26 INS- 

Scott, (..A.M.. Enrwisle, I.J.. Ma>, I \\ , and Stevens, 
(i.N. (1997), "A Conservation Overview of Australian 
Non-Marine Lichens, Bryophytes, Algae and Fungi'. 
(Wildlife Australia: Canberra). 

Alex McLean and David Meagher 

Department ofBiology, School of Botany, 

Monash University, University of Melbourne, 

Clayton 3168, Victoria. Parkville J(J10, Victoria, 


The Victorian Naturalist 

( \)ntrihutions 

Effects of Grazing, Tourism and Climate Change on the 
Alpine Vegetation of Kosciuszko National Park 

Pascal Scherrer 1 and Catherine Marina Pickering' 

Activities in the past (grazing), present (tourism) and future (tourism and potential climate change) 
have documented or potential long-term impacts on the biologically significant alpine flora of 
KosCiUSZko National Park. Australia, The management of these activities provides insights lor the 
conservation of fragile ecosystems in the Australian Alps, and lor other high use. high conservation- 
value reserves. Grazing caused w idespread damage that has required expensive, ongoing re\egc(ation. 
ihe costs of which have been home b> publicly funded conservation organisations.! he increasing use 
of the area b> summer tourists has also caused severe hut more localised damage to the 
vegetation, thai can large)} he controlled and reduced hy effective management of tracks, visitors and 
weeds. Management of the most recent threat, climate change, requires a holistic approach including 
lobbying for a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions. I he predicted changes in climate ma\ result in 
a sequence of changes in the distribution ol the native alpine plant communities, including an increase 
in the diversity and abundance of alien plants. {The I fetation Vaturutht 118(3), 2001, 93 l >'>.) 


The impact ol' human activities on vege- 
tation communities has reached critical 
levels in main natural systems. These 
include alpine regions where human activi- 
ties have resulted in long-term damage or 
irreversible change (Mosley 1989; Good 
and Grcnier 1994; Bakker and Berendse 
1999)- This is. in part, the result oh the lim- 
ited capacity thai some alpine environ- 
ments have to recover from disturbance, 
due to the low energy of the system and 
resultant slow growth rates For vegetation 
(Costin etal 2000: Jacobs 1992), Human- 
indueed damage to alpine vegetation has 
jeopardised water qua I it} in catchments, 
indigenous communities, sustainabilit) of 
the harvesting of natural resources and 
mountain tourism (Cullen 1992; Williams 
and Costin 1994). 

Ihe largest contiguous alpine region 
(taken here to only include vegetation 
above 1 S30 m) in Australia is centred 
around Mi Kosciuszko in the south east ol 
New South Wales dig. I ). 

This area of 122 km has been subjected 
to a range of harmful human activities 
despite the international biological signifi- 
cance of the area (Good 1992a). I he 
unique qualities ol Kosciuszko National 
Park led to its inclusion in the UNESCO 

Griffith ! M,'. LT.iu . Si hool "I I Nvimninen!;il ;m<l 

\\ iplii d '■•> ii m .. .. I'Mh -i.i. < [old ( oasl Mail < cntre 
Que. 19726 

Man and the Biosphere Program in 1977, 
as an International Biosphere Reserve 
(Good 1992a). rhe region was classified as 

an outstanding example of an alpine and 
suhalpinc environment, which contains 
unique communities, and areas of unusual 
natural features of exceptional interest. 
Human activities pose a threat to these 
qualities unless effectively managed. 

Impacts of human activities 

Grazing was the first human activity to 
substantially alter the vegetation o\' the 
alpine region of Kosciuszko National Park 
' fable I)- Until the arrival of cattle and 
sheep, the flora had not experienced tram- 
pling hv heavy, hard-hoofed animals 
(Good 1995). Grazing commenced in the 
1830s anil stock numbers were often high 
and ineffective!} managed {Costin ci a/. 
2000). Ihe pressure of grazing was far 
beyond the capacity of the vegetation to 
sustain even seasonal usage (Good 1995). 
Decrease in vegetation cover, reductions in 
palatable species and changes in vegetalion 
patterns and communities occurred (Helms 
1893; Byles 1932; Costin I9S4; Costin 
1958; Costin et ai. 1959; Costin el ui 
1960; Bryant 1971; Good 1992a). The 
combination ol regular intense grazing and 
the frequent use of lire as a management 
tool also led to severe sheet erosion, a 
legacy that remains with the park today 
(Bryant 1971; S.W. Johnston, pers. comm. 

Vol. 118(3)2001 





r / 






L / 

^ — dV 

Vic "V^ 

^ v/*V~ 

' \ V- 

: . 



! < 

■, ': 

■; ■ ■ 

Mt Tate 



■ .-■ 

:V' ,.. 

{ ,, , : 








Perisher ;--/'' 




Mt Town send 




Charlotte Pass 

Mt Kosciuszko 




f\ A 



2 3 

4 5 6 7 km 

Thredbo '' 

. ••■■ 

Roads & Walking Tracks 



South Rams Head ■ 




alpine area (above 1830 m) 


Fig. I. Contiguous alpine area covered in this study around Mt Kosciuszko in Kosciuszko National 
Park, New South Wales, Australia. 

The establishment of the Kosciusko State Scheme in 1949 were the major factors 
(later National) Park in 1944 and the start that eventually led to the cessation of graz- 
of the Snowy Mountains Hydroelectric ing in the Kosciuszko alpine area (Clark 


The Victorian Naturalist 


1992; Good 1995). With the commence- 
ment of the hydroelectric scheme, the con- 
trol of soil erosion and careful manage- 
ment of alpine catchments became crucial 
(Costin 1958; Costin and Polach 1971). 
Grazing leases were progressively with- 
drawn until in 1969, all grazing in what 
had become Kosciusko National Park was 
banned (Stanley 1982; NSW NPWS 1988). 
In 1957, a 25-year plan to revegetate and 
restore badly eroded areas commenced 
(Clothier and Condon 1968; Keane 1977; 
Clark 1992) and the most severely dam- 
aged lands were rehabilitated and revege- 
tated. Although most of the revegetation 
works appeared to be successful at the time 
(sometimes after several treatments), there 
is now renewed erosion within these areas 
requiring more expensive rehabilitation 
(S.W. Johnston, pers. comm, 1999). 

Grazing in the alpine zone highlights two 
general management issues, first, that 
damage to fragile ecosystems can have 
long term conservation and financial costs 
thai greatly exceed the benefits of the orig- 
inal activity. Rehabilitation and stabilisa- 
tion of the area cost in the order of AS4796 
per hectare (A$2SO0 in 1984; Good 1995). 
considerably outweighing the benefit of 
the area as summer pasture (about A$10 to 
A$40 per hectare per annum, depending on 
method of estimation; values from Costin 
( 1 966) adjusted to 2000 values). 

The second issue is that rehabilitation 
costs are often borne by organisations dif- 
fering from those responsible for the origi- 
nal damage. In this case, rehabilitation was 
the responsibility of the publicly funded 
NSW Soil Conservation Service, and cur- 
rently is the responsibility of the NSW 
National Parks and Wildlife Service. 
Therefore the benefits of grazing went pri- 
marily to private individuals, while the 
costs of repairing the damage resulting 
from the impacts of that activity was. and 
still is. borne by the public. 


With the end of grazing, tourism became 
the major issue for management in the 
alpine zone (Good 1992b: Buckley et al. 
2000). As a result of increasing visitation, 
it is forecast that permanent and irre- 
versible changes to the vegetation will 
occur (Table I, Good 1995). Visitor num- 

bers have increased with improved access 
to the area (Good 1995), increased public 
interest and environmental awareness 
(Mercer 1992) as well as efforts of the 
adjacent subalpine winter resorts to diver- 
sify and promote summer activities (Good 
1995: Konig 1998). In the late 1970s, up to 
1000 people per day visited the alpine zone 
(Edwards 1977). Currently over 2000 peo- 
ple per day visit the area during the peak 
holiday periods (S.W. Johnston, pers, 
comm AW)). 

The main tourist activities are walking, 
sightseeing and camping during summer 
and snowboard ing and cross-country ski- 
ing in winter (Table I). Impacts of tourism 
on the vegetation include trampling, intro- 
duction and spread of weeds, fire scars, lit- 
tering, nutrient supplementation of soils 
and water, and the illegal collection of 
plants (Willard 1970: Liddle 1975; Cole 
1985; Good and Grenier 1994; Good W95; 
/immermann 1998; Buckley et al. 2000). 
To date, trampling and weeds appear to 
have had the greatest impact on the alpine 
vegetation (Edwards 1977; Mallen-Cooper 
1990; Good 1992a). 

The response by park management to 
erosion problems on tracks and trails has 
been the hardening of walkways with grav- 
el, gravel within a plastic soil containment 
grid, raised wood or metal walkways, and 
pavers, along with controlled drainage 
lines (Good and Grenier 1994; CDT 1996). 
These management practices are expen- 
sive, with the rehabilitation of the summit 
area of Mt Kosciuszko and the surrounding 
area costing more than AS420.000 (NSW 
NPWS 1997). The most effective measure 
in terms of vegetation protection appears 
to be the construction of raised walkways. 
These reduce the physical contact of visi- 
tors with the flora, limit trampling and 
associated erosion and prevent the forma- 
tion of multiple tracks particularly through 
bog and i'en communities (Parr-Smith and 
Policy 1998). Raised walkways can also 
reduce weed establishment along track 
edges, because the introduction of gravel 
and sand is rarelv necessary. Rehabilitation 
of track edges and other areas is an ongo- 
ing process using native seed and tube 
stock, mulch, fertiliser and plastic webbing 
(Terra Mat) at an overall cost of around 
ASI 19 per metre square (1997 values; 

Vol. 118(3)2001 




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The Victorian Naturalist 


Johnston 1997; Parr-Smith and Policy 

Although there arc no formal camp sites 
in the alpine zone, informal areas at popu- 
lar sites often suffer from severe localised 
trampling, nutrient addition to soil and 
water from human waste, lire scars, root 
damage from digging and collection pf 
firewood from the few woody species 
(AALC !°93a; Buckley et aL 2000). Open 
fires and camping in the catchments of the 
glacial lakes have been proscribed in an 
effort to limit tourism impacts (AALC 
1993a, b). The provision of 'portaloos' 
within the alpine area in summer and the 
rotating composting toilets at Charlotte 
Pass are t ike 1 > 10 reduce human waste in 
the alpine area, although they have their 
own impacts and arc expensive manage- 
ment options (AALC 2000). 

Due to their confined nature, tourism 
impacts appear to he much more control 
lable than those of grazing- In summer, 
people tend to sta\ on the designated 
tracks and trails and can, to a large extent. 
be effective!} guided and directed by man- 
agement tools such as informative signs, 
raised walkways, hardened tracks and the 
provision of toilets <\S\Y NPWS 1988). 
I he major problem is increased usage. \s 
park authorities work towards stabilising 
and hardening tracks and implementing 
other management strategies to direct peo- 
ple awa\ from sensitive areas, problems 
will keep redeveloping as visitor numbers 
increase, expanding the areas of damage. 
The economic costs of these methods are 
high, although partly offset by revenue 
hom the entrance fee to the park (currently 
A$15 and \$86 per car for a dailv and 
annual pass respectively). -\s the limit to 
the effectiveness and desirability of the 
hardening strategy approaches, restrictions 
on numbers or even closure of some areas 
may well be required, particularly at peak 

Climate change 
Global warming is likely to be a major 

threat to the alpine environment with wide- 
spread effects on the ecology of the system 
(Green 1998; Pickering T998; Pickering 
and Armstrong 2000). Predicted changes 
in temperature, precipitation and snow 
cover (Whetlon I998)are likely to alter the 

distribution of native and introduced plants 
and animals, the hydrology of the system 
and soil processes (Green 1908; Good 
1998; Pickering 199S; Picketing and 
Armstrong 2000). The direct and indirect 
effects o\' these changes on the flora are 
difficult to predict but are likely to involve 
reductions in the distribution of certain 
plant species and communities, particular!) 
the snowbank feldmark and short alpine 
herblleld communities that are associated 
with late snowbanks (Pickering 1998; 
Pickering and Armstrong 2000). 

Climate change mav be a greater threat to 
the alpine /one than either grazing or 
tourism. However, the impacts of grazing 
and tourism have been, or can be managed 
bv altering human activities within the 
park; the same approach will not work for 
climate change, I he threat From climate 
change is global in nature, with the issue 
being human activities at a truh global 
scale. Therefore part of the direct manage- 
ment response bv park agencies should be 
the Lobbying of organisations responsible 
for the production and or control of green- 
house gases, including, the federal 
( iov eminent. 

The clear legislative obligation of NSW 
National Parks and Wildlife Service and 
other conservation agencies to maintain the 
natural values of the environment mav 
require them, more and more, to assume BUI 
advocate's role for the natural environ- 
ment. This type of management approach, 
although vital for preserving conservation 
reserves, is likek to attract criticism from 
groups who see the responsibility of the 
parks services as limited to issues that can 
be managed within park boundaries. 

There are two local programs that parks 
agencies can undertake to assist in dealing 
with the impacts of climate change indi- 
rectly. The first is a watching brief. The 
Australian Alps national parks including 
KosctuSZko National Park should join 
international monitoring programs such as 
(■I OKI A (Global Observation Research 
Initiative in Alpine Environments) that 
examine the impacts of climate change o\-\ 
natural systems. Monitoring would allow 
early detection of critical changes in the 
Australian alpine flora and fauna. 
Documenting changes in both the climate 
and the biota could highlight the impact o\ 

Vol. 118(3)2001 



our activities on this fragile ecosystem, 
possibly adding support )o moves to limit 

The second program is the control of 
alien plants and animals. Although there 
are existing control programs, the problem 
is likely to amplify as climate change 
increases the abundance and diversity oi' 
weeds and feral animals in the alpine zone 
{Green 1998; Pickering 1998; Pickering 
and Armstrong 2000). It is also possible 
that tourism and climate change will have 
synergistic effects on the distribution of 
Weeds in the alpine area further enhancing 
the problem (Buckley et at. 2000). 


There have been, and continue to be, 
long-term negative effects of human activi- 
ties on the Australian alpine vegetation 
despite expensive and committed manage- 
ment by conservation groups and other 
organisations. Grazing and associated 
activities have caused extensive damage to 
the vegetation and soil that still requires 
rehabilitation. Tourism, although with 
more localised effects, is causing damage, 
and has elicited expensive management 
responses that have their own environmen- 
tal and aesthetic impacts on the region. 
Climate change is likely to have wide- 
spread, cascading ecological effects thai 
are not amenable to a local management 
response. Currently the most effective 
method of limiting the impact of climate 
change would be to reduce greenhouse gas 
production, something that has been 
notable for its lack of success at a national 


This research was supported by the Cooperative 
Research Centre for Sustainable Tourism. 
Griffith University. We also thank Smart 
Johnston lor his valuable insights and comments 
On matters related to this paper. 


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I .'■■!" Rese in h i .i^"')! i I 

Vol. 118(3)21101 


Naturalist Note 

Ant Behaviour Part 2 

This note reports the apparently unusual 
and aggressive behaviour of a single Sugar 
Ant Camponotus sp. as observed at Ridge 
Park, Sugarloaf Reservoir, Christinas Hills, 
Victoria. The behaviour of this Sugar Ant 
contrasts with the report on Sugar Ants in 
the August 1999 issue of The Victorian 
Naturalist (Grey 1999) where they exhibit- 
ed submissive behaviour in the presence of 
Meat Ants fridomyrmex purpureas. 

At I I a.m. on 19 September 1999, a sin- 
gle Sugar Ant, subsequently identified as 
Camponotus 'consobrinus '* (sub-family 
Formicinae) was observed at the entrance 
to the nest of a small, black ant, subse- 
quently identified as Anonychomynna 
'itinerans' (sub-family Dolichoderinae). 
Identifications were made using keys from 
Andersen 1991, Greenslade 1979 and 
Shattuck 1999. The Sugar Ant repeatedly 
approached the nest entrance where it 
attacked (and was in turn attacked by) the 
small ants as they left, and returned to, the 
nest. This activity was observed for about 
15 minutes and during this time one of the 
A. * itinerans ' was killed and another 
injured. Each bout, and there were quite a 
number, was short - a matter of seconds. 
The Sugar Ant used its mandibles to hold 
the small black ant while bending its 
abdomen (gaster) to bring the formic acid 
spray into action. This spray, directed 
through a conical opening (the aeidopore) 
at the rear of the gaster, is used for defence 
and communication (Shattuck 1999). It 
Was interesting to note the Sugar Ant 
ignored other species of ants, one a 
Ponerine species and the other a very 
small, brown ant (not identified), even 

though they were within the area where the 
attacks took place and close to the Sugar 

In Andersen (1987), ants were grouped 
into seven ecological categories. 
Anonychomyrma 'itinerans ' is a member 
of the dominant species group {Category 
I ). Category 1 ants are characterised as 
abundant, highly active and aggressive. On 
the other hand, the Sugar Ant C. 'consobri- 
nus' belongs in Category 2 - subordinate 
species exhibiting submissive behaviour. 
Thus the aggressive behaviour of C. v con- 
sobrinus' in this observation appears 

* Inverted commas indicate a species group. A 
group is a complex of species closely allied to, 
and including, the named species (Andersen 


Andersen, A.N. (1987). Anl communily organisation 
and environmental assessment, In 'The Role of 
Invcrlchratcs in Conservation and Biological 
Survey'- Ed. A.D. Major. Western Australian 
Department of Conservation and Land Management 

Andersen, A.N. (1990). 'The use of ant communities to 
evaluate change in Australian terrestrial ecosystems : 
a review and a recipe'. Proceedings of the Ecological 
Society of Australia. 16. 

Andersen, A.N, (1991). ' The Ants of Southern 
Australia. A Guide lo the Bassian Fauna'. 
(C.S.I.R.O.: Australia.) 

Greenslade, P..I.M. (1979). 'A Guide to Ants of South 
Australia'. (South Australian Museum: Adelaide.) 

(ire;, E.J. (1999). 'Ant Behaviour'. The I'icrorian 
NaturaVip 116, 150. 

Shattuck, S.O. (1999). •Australian Ants: their biology 
and identification'. (C.S.I.R.O.: Australia.) 

E.J. Grey 

8 Woona Court, 
Vallambie. Victoria 3085. 

lima Dunn 

We were deeply saddened to learn of the recent death of lima Dunn, lima 
was a long time member of the Field Naturalists Club of Victoria as well 
as an ardent supporter of the Fcngimap scheme and a talented photographer. 
A tribute to lima will appear in a later issue. 


The Victorian Naturalist 

Book Reviews 
A Guide to Squid, Cuttlefish and Octopuses of Australasia 

Mark Norman and Amanda Reid 

Publisher: CSIRO Publishing and The Gould League of Australia, 2000. 
96 pp. RRP $32.95, 

All beach-goers are familiar with 'cuttle- 
bones 1 washed up on the strand, with occa- 
sional views of octopus in tidal pools and 
with calamari rings to finish off the day. 
But to most, knowledge goes little further 
as to the actual identity of these 
ccphalopods or where and how they live, 
feed, and reproduce or their behaviour and 
relationship to other marine fauna. 

The Australasian cephalopod fauna has 
been the subject of much research in recent 
years, as we have in our region perhaps as 
great a number of species of squids, cuttle- 
fish and octopuses as anywhere in the 
world. Lu and Phillips (1985) catalogue 
pver 220 nominal species but the more 
recent research, as outlined in The 
Southern Synthesis (Beasley et al. 1998), 
would put this number closer to 1 SO actual 
species (squid, 80; cuttlefish and allies. 50; 
octopus. 50). However there has been little 
in the way of Held guides for their identifi- 
cation. The Southern Synthesis (Chaps 1 1- 
13) deals in detail with the anatomy, mor- 
phology and physiology of the (lass 
Cephalopoda and the subclasses 
Nautiioidea (nautilus) and Colcoidea (cut- 
tlefish, squids, octopuses). In the latter 
chapter keys to the various families are 
given (with line drawings of representative 
taxa) but lower taxonomic identifications 
are not made. In southern Australia we are 
a bit more fortunate in that Zeigier and 
Norris (1989) give keys and brief descrip- 
tions and some colour photos of our 
cephalopod fauna, and Edgar (1998) also 
has a small section on this fauna - but nei- 
ther of these two books is complete nor 
easily used in the field. 

NOW, in this new publication by Norman 
and Reid. we have a very readable guide to 
the specific identity of at least some of the 
cephalopod fauna of the wider 
Australasian region. The fauna mentioned 
includes species from all parts of the 

Australian coastline with a number which 
occur only in the islands to our north. 
Some of the taxa have very extensive 
ranges, occurring throughout the western 
Pacific region, whilst others are quite 
restricted, e.g. The Capricorn octopus, 
known only from a single island group in 
the Great Barrier Reef. Introductory chap- 
ters deal very briefly with the evolution of 
ccphalopods in geologic time, eephalopods 
today and the means of identifying the var- 
ious groups of ccphalopods. The largest 
section deals with sixty-three of the more 
common species of squids, cuttlefish and 
octopuses found in mainly shallower 
waters. Taxa described range from the 
huge Giant Squid (up to 2 metres mantle 
length and 18 metres overall) to species 
less than 2 cm overall length, and from 
those living in intertidal pools to the soft, 
gelatinous octopuses living at depths of 
several kilometers. One page is usually 
devoted to each species which is described 
with a half page colour photo, a distribu- 
tion map and a brief discussion of some of 
the more important points of the animal 
and something of the biology where 
known. A final section figures the most 
common beach-stranded sepions ('euttle- 
bones*) although I feel that the rosy, 
bronze and bluish hues of these figures, 
which may be true of live-taken sepions, 
are quite strange for the normal while 
objects found on the beach. There is a 
short reading guide, a glossary and an 
index to complete the book. This book 
could be quite easily carried and used in 
the field but would almost certainly not 
stand immersion. 

There is still a great deal to be found out 
about these animals just two quotes from 
The Southern Synthesis 'iM't: histories of 
the overwhelming majority of ccphalopods 
are still unknown../ (p. 470) and '...the 
taxonomic importance of observing the 

Vol. 118(3)2001 


Book Reviews 

colour patterns, skin textures and body 
postures of live animals' (p. 476). This is 
where the amateur beachgoer or diver can 
assist. Interesting, and previously 
unknown, behaviour of these animals can 
be gained if we take the opportunity of a 
chance encounter to simply observe e.g. 
Vafiadis ( 1998) on Octopus muorum. I feel 
a short section, with this in mind, on 
observing (photography, video-recording), 
collecting and preserving specimens would 
have been useful. 

The photographers are to be congratulat- 
ed as the photos used are quite exquisite (I 
liked the Striped Pyjama Squid) and, tak- 
ing into account the colour changes that 
the Coeloidea are capable of with their 
chromatophore systems, should enable 
confident identification of the species dealt 

I would recommend this book as a very 
useful guide for all marine-goers. 


Beasley. P.L.. Ross, G.BJ. and Wells, A. (tds) (1998). 
"Mollusca; The Southern Synthesis. Fauna ol 
Australia Volume 5' (CSIRO Publishing: 

Edgar, G.J. (1998). 'Australian Marine Life". (Reed 
Rooks: Victoria.) 

Lu, C.C and Phillips. J.U. (1985). An annotated check- 
list of the Cephalopoda from Australian waters. 
Occasional Papers from the Museum of Victoria 2, 

Vafiadis, P. (1998). intertidal sighting and behaviour ol 
Octopus maorum Mutton, 1880. The Victorian 
Natural is! 115, 100-104. 

Zeigler, W. and Norris. K.I I. (1989). Squids, Cuttlefish 
and Octopuses (Class Cephalopoda). In 'Marine 
Invertebrates of Southern Australia. Pan 2'. Chapter 
13, pp. 789-822. Fds S.A. Shepherd and I.M. 
Thomas. (South Australian Government Printing 

K.N. Bell 

Inverleigh, Victoria 3321. 

Flora of Australia Volume 48 
Ferns, Gymnosperms and Allied Groups 

Publisher: (ABRS)/CS1R0. 1998. 766 pp. 96 colour photographs. 

numerous black and white drawings, distribution maps. 

ISBN 643 05972 5 (soft cover). RRP $99. 95 

Available from CSIRO Publishing PO Box 1139, Collingwood, Victoria 3066. 

This wonderful volume of Flora of 
Australia caters for all those interested in 
our Australian non-flowering vascular 
plants. It is divided into two main sections, 
the ferns and fern allies and the gym- 
nosperms. In each instance, a brief review 
of the taxonomic history of each group is 
provided giving the reader a quick, albeit 
rudimentary, understanding of previous 
taxonomic research. Similarly, the reader 
is given an overview of the morphology, 
biology and ecology of the two broad 
groups. This is ideal for those in the early 
stages of their studies although they must 
come to grips with terminology. To assist 
with this, a glossary of specialised and fre- 
quently used terms for the ferns, conifers 

and their allies is included at the back of 
the volume. It is not exhaustive but this is 
acknowledged and the reader is advised to 
use it in conjunction with the glossary in 
Flora of Australia Volume 1 . 

I have tested the key to the families of 
ferns and fern allies in Australia and found 
it simple and easy to use, making it ideal 
for the student and amateur and highly 
desired by the professional botanist! Each 
family has its own key to genera and each 
genus, similarly, has its own key to 
species. Although I have not tested all of 
these, they are designed in the same man- 
ner as the key to families and appear 
straightforward. Indeed, the ones I have 
tried posed no problems. Descriptions are 


The Victorian Naturalist 

Book Reviews 

brief and to the point, as they should be, 
photographs and drawings generally are of 
high quality, showing the intricate detail 
and quiet beauty of selected specimens. 
The proliferous buds in the distal axils of 
Callipteris prolifera (Figure 88 in the 
Volume) and the aerial shot of Platycerium 
SUperbum (Figure 150 in the Volume) are 
particularly captivating. Short notes on 
habitat and distribution are presented and 
information on type collections, chromo- 
some numbers and published illustrations 
provided, supplemented by significant ref- 
erences and synonymy. This occurs for the 
gymnosperms as well. 

No single key to the families of gym- 
nosperms was provided, instead, each divi- 
sion has its own key to families, then fami- 
lies to genera etc. Several keys to families 
are provided for the Pinophyta: based on 
female specimens, male specimens and on 
vegetative characters. Again, photographs 
and drawings are of high quality and show 
the attention paid to detail by the photogra- 
phers and artists. In both the gymnosperms 
and the fern and fern allies many of the 
photographs and diagrams are of reproduc- 
tive structures, accentuating their impor- 
tance as identification tools. 

The chapters dealing with the fossil 
records of the ferns and fern allies and the 
gymnosperms are an important inclusion 
and help piece together the scattered infor- 
mation available, providing a holistic view 
of the changes that occurred over time with 
respect to these plant groups. The impor- 
tance of continued comparative investiga- 
tion of extant and fossil flora is highlighted 
by the mention that the discover} of 
Wo II em i pine Wollemia supported the 
hypothesis that the Araueariaceae may 
have included an additional genus in the 
past, although. Wollemia has not been con- 
firmed as a fossil. There still is much to be 
understood about the fossil record of our 
Australian non-flowering plants. Why, ii is 
asked, did Dacrycarpus become extinct 
when apparently more susceptible genera 
survived? This is an important question as 
Australia is a large land mass and has, and 
presumably had, a wide variety of habitats. 
Why did Cyathea fail to recover from the 

last glacial when it has survived more 
extensive glaciation? Is there a factor 
restricting its expansion? If so, what? 

The collation of the distribution maps for 
each species is particularly useful. In the 
first instance, it allows a rapid visualisation 
of the Australian biogeography of each 
species but, also, allows easy comparison 
between species. The instant recognition of 
isolated occurrences of many species high- 
lights their vulnerability and the impor- 
tance of their conservation/preservation. 

An appendix presents new taxa, combi- 
nations, lectotypifications, epitypifications 
and neotv pifications. There are quite a 
number of these accentuating the enor- 
mous amount of work done by the authors. 
One of the amazing points to note is that 
even large new species still arc being 
described. Obviously there is a lot more 
work needed! 

This volume of the Flora of Australia is 
comprehensive, authoritative, and written 
in easily understood English. The numer- 
ous black and white line drawings are an 
excellent aid to the text and, conveniently, 
are usually adjacent to the text or on the 
next page. The colour photographs were 
divided into three groups, which were dis- 
persed throughout the volume, serving to 
break the monotony of black and white. 
While the photographs, therefore, were not 
near to the relevant text and some Hipping 
of pages back and forth was necessary, it is 
understandable that this should occur, 
especially when considering convenience 
for putting the publication together and 
associated costs. There are a number of 
'typos' scattered throughout the text, 
including incorrectly spelt words and 
omissions but this is a minor fault and the 
reader should not let this detract from the 
otherwise superb presentation of the vol- 
ume. I highly recommend that anyone even 
remotely interested in Australia's ferns, 
fern allies and gymnosperms save their 
pennies, fill their piggy-banks and buy a 
copy of this volume of Flora of Australia] 

Maria Gibson 

School of Biological and (hernia) I Sciences, 

Deakin University, 

Clayton, Victoria 3168. 

Vol. 118(3)2001 


Software Review 

Compendium of PtiNGlMAP Target Species 

Version 1.0 | CD-ROM | 

Publisher: Ftmimr, Melbourne. Australia. RRP $1100 

I Ins outstanding first I'l'NdiMAI' CD- 

l<< )M provides the user with detailed infor- 
mation on the 100 FuftGiMAP Target 
Species in the form of written descriptions, 
numerous photos rind illustrative material 
;is well as the distribution maps created 
Prom the records sent in by volunteers 
across Australia. The CI) also includes 
general information on Fitngjmap, a glos- 
sary ol'nivcological terms, and basic infor- 
mation on the structure of Fungi, For those 
interested, further mycologjcal information 
may be gained from the list of reference 
books and fungi web sites. 

The opening screen makes it so easy to 
gel started just click on the topic How to 
me this ( 7> ROM and all is revealed. I he 
icons arc explained and navigation through 
the CI) is clearly laid out. The opening 
statement was particularly reassuring: 
'Explore the CD-ROM in any manner you 
like. Yon caiTl do it any harm and yon can 
always return to the start by clicking this 
icon [HOME] 1 . Troubleshooting is also 
very helpful, especially with older 
machines ami earlier versions of Windows 
where sometimes the whole screen is not 
visible, or 'the image is nwluT. Answers 
arc given with easily followed solutions. 
However, the CD-ROM needs a computer 
with a colour resolution of 800x600 (and 
higher) pixels, and is, unfortunately, only 
available for PC's not Mac's. The first 
screen is clearly set out with a list of topics 
on the right and on the left, a diagrammatic 
'mushroom cap 1 divided into segments that 
when highlighted and clicked lead to the 
descriptions of the 100 FUNGIMAP Target 

Everything that you \K'a\ to know about 
participating in FtNOlMM 1 is included in 
Hie headings under Fungtmctp. In Fungi 
i-'caturcs the stages of "why a mushroom is 
mushroom-shaped' is amusing first there 
is a sketch of a gill, a pine and a tooth, 
then clicking on the next 'principles' you 
get a collection of gills pores, teeth, then \\ 

cover to keep off the rain' etc. This is 
especially useful for those of us who arc- 
new to the subject. Additional documents 
can also be accessed that include informa- 
tion ("or beginners, record sheets etc., and 
FUNGIMAP Newsletters 1-12. 

In the next topic, Fungi Skills, microscop- 
ic images of some fungi spores have been 
included which further adds to the interest 
and study of the subject. The Resources 
topic shows the paucity of purely 
Australian fungi books, and indicates how 
necessary this CD-ROM is. Throughout the 
topics there are direct access routes to fungi 
web sites other than the 1'unkiim \i" site. 
This feature is very useful. 

Back to the fun part of the opening 
screen finding out about the 100 
ITnumai 1 Target species. Access to each 
species can be done in a number of ways 
as indicated on the 'mushroom cap', which 
is divided into S segments and an inner cir- 
cle. As (he cursor moves over any of the 
sections, sample illustrations and text 
appears in boxes, which give more infor- 
mation about that segment. AH targets, in 
the centre of the 'cap', takes you directly 
to the descriptions of the species starting at 
A Agtfricus xanthoderma* Yellow 
Slainer as t/100 down to 100/100 
VolvarieUa speciosa. 

from the outer segments of the v eap\ 
you can select whether you want to look at 
gilled fungi, those with pores or teeth, or 
any of the other types. All these, when 
activated, take the reader to a second 
screen with fagged files and thumbnail 
illustrations of each species. Clicking on 
any of the species illustrated will take you 
to its description. On the other hand, you 
cm go to the Taxonomy segment that lists 
the species in their order, family, genus 
and species, and by clicking on nn\ of the 
species here you can also go directly to the 
description. There is also another way to 
access (he species, which I particularly 
liked by colour. At the second screen the 

1 04 

The Victorian Naturalisl 

Software Review 

thumbnails are arranged in colour. I also 
found helpful those fungi listed by habitat, 
i.e. the desert fungi, and think it would also 
be useful if other species could be grouped 
according to habitat, or substrate. 

The first screen of the description gives 
the name, etymology, taxonomy and com- 
mon name, if there is one. Most of the 
screen is taken up with an illustration of 
the species, with arrows indicating the rel- 
evant macroscopic features that are charac- 
teristic of the fungus. This is an excellent 
feature and backed up with the more 
detailed description (accessed by the 
"page' icon on the screen), and further 
photos (accessed b\ the 'camera 1 icon) 
enables a positive recognition of the 
species. The number of additional photos 
of the species is another commendable fea- 
ture. They show the species in a varien of 
stages and aspects, thus giving the reader a 
'concept' of the species, which is ver\ 
important since fungi are so variable in 
mam cases. The photos are excellent, and 
the wonderful thing is that FUNGTMAP vol- 
unteers have contributed all (over 700) free 
of charge. Unfortunately not all the species 
have further written descriptions, or a vari- 
ety of other photos, thus making it difficult 
to identify these species, especial I J lor 

The map icon shows the distribution of 
the fungus. It is particularly gratifying that 
Ft xgimai* volunteers' records have \er\ 
greatly increased the information on the 

distribution of most species. The red 
Fungimap squares dominate almost every 
map (the blue ones indicate herbarium 
specimens, and the green, literary records). 
Victoria and Tasmania are seen to have a 
lot of records, but this is probably the dis- 
tribution of recorders rather than a dearth 
of Fi NGIMAP targets elsewhere. 

Other information included with some 
species is a spore print, and any 'look 
alike' fungi. One feature I particularly 
liked was that when Cyttaria gunnii was 
said to grow on Myrtle Beech, by clicking 
on the camera icon near this information, 
an image of the Myrtle Beech was shown, 
similarly with Banksiamyccs macrocarpa 
on Banks i a spimdosa. 

This is just the first version (see How to 
use this CD-ROM - the 2 ml edition) and a 
later edition will fix up the lack of descrip- 
tions and photos as well as adding hjrthei 
features and an enlarged target species list. 
I shall look Forward to that. 

Ian Bell is to be congratulated on putting 
together such an elegant program - easy to 
use and tremendous fun. It will be espe- 
cially useful for those just starting with 
li MGIMAP; in fact, fungi in general, since 
there is information on many geneia. 

The RRP of $15.00 makes this CD-ROM 
an extremely good buy. 

Pat Grey 

S Woona ( "<Hni 


Victoria 3085, 

CO available from FUNGIMAP Ro>al Botanic (iardens Melbourne, Birdwood Avenue, Soulli 
Yarra, Victoria 3141. Cost S15.00 + S3. 00 (GST + postage and handling) anywhere in 
Australia. heques made out to: Field Naturalists Club ol Victoria 

100 Years Ago 

Win ki mi Biros Go To 

In a reeent issue of the Daily Mail (London) some account was given of a sale of 
bird skins in that city. One firm sold no less than 2,151 female Birds of Paradise, 
while another had 847 and a third 531! These were sold in lots of 50 or 60 at from 
16s. to 24s. per skin. One of the linns had 1,1 SI Impeyan Pheasants, together wilh 
large quantities of Osprey feathers, skins of parrots, jays, owls, crested pigeons, and 
other birds. A line of 1,000 lately deceased "Pretty Pollies" went off at 1 U 4 d. each! 

Prom The Victorian Naturalist Vol. XVIII, 1901. 

Vol. 118(3)2001 



Stefanie Rennick 
27 March 1918 - 3 January 2001 

Environmentalist and Naturalist 

Stefan ic Rennick joined the I ■ i c I d 
Naturalists Club of Victoria 18 years ago, 
in 1983. About this lime she also became a 
p rom i n e n t e n v i ro n m e n t a I i s l on i h e 
Mornington Peninsula. She joined the 
newly formed Southern Peninsula Tree 
Preservation Society and put to work her 
visions for the protection of biodiversity in 
the region. She was already a long lime 
member of the Melbourne Women's 
Walking Club and also had an increasing 
interest in native plants. When there was a 
plan to subdivide part of Greens hush she 
campaigned strongly lor the whole area to 
be put into the Mornington Peninsula 
National Park. Finally, when this goal was 
realised, and when walking tracks were 
being constructed she bad visions lor a 
field guide for the whole Peninsula. A 
book committee was set up and a grant 


obtained. Stefanie worked tirelessly at this 
with assistance from lima Dunn, who sup- 
plied most of the photos. The book, 'The 
Mornington Peninsula: A field guide to the 
flora, fauna and walking tracks 1 (1000), 
was a great success, raising over $40,000 
in book sales which she requested go to 
Trust for Nature to be used only for con- 
servation on the Mornington Peninsula. 

One campaign Stefanie fought strongly 
for was the relocation of the Main Ridge 
Equestrian Centre from Council-owned 
land adjacent to the Mornington Peninsula 
National Park. Phyiophihoru had been 
found in the area near a stream that runs 
into the Park, causing a serious Lhreat to 
the flora of the Park. Stefanie fought 
Council bureaucracy for years in this 
ongoing saga and it is unfortunate she did 
not live to see (he matter resolved. On a 
brighter note Stelanie had 
been engaged in a long- 
running dispute with the 
Shire over slashing road- 
side verges in late spring 
when many late (lowering 
native species had not set 
seed. Because of her tena- 
cious spirit, Council has 
changed its attitude and 
has identified many road- 
side verges for special 

Stefanie was also a mem- 
ber of the Southern 
Peninsula Indigenous 
Fauna and Mora 

Association and always 
had lots to say on local 
matters. At meetings she 
would nearly always bring 
along a bunch of environ- 
mental weeds to educate 
members, and spoke 
strongly \'ov weed 
removal. All those she 
inspired are determined to 
keep fighting for the 
things she believed in and 
her vision for the 


The Victorian Naturalist 


Peninsula. A granite tor with a bronze 
plaque has been erected in her honour on a 
section of the Two Bays Track. It reads 

In honour oi 

Stelanic Rennick 

Teat her, Naturalist, Knviromnenlalisl 

and Buslmalker 
whose vision saw the establishment of 

The Two Bays Walking Tract 

and who has fought tirelessly lor the 

Preservation of Moniington Peninsula'; 


A woman for all seasons. 

Stefanie's environmental activities also 
extended to suburbia, where she used her 

teaching skills to introduce the students at 
Ormond East Primary School to indige- 
nous plants. Together they built and looked 
after a native garden at Joyce's Park and 
thus she passed her knowledge and envi- 
ronmental ideas on to a new generation. 

She was also involved and participated in 
activities with the Victorian National Parks 
Association, Native Corridor Research 
Group, and The Australian Plants Society 
(where she was made a life member). 
Somehow she also found time to con- 
tribute to The Victorian Naturalist. 

Tom Sault 

51 Russell Street, 
Tootgarook, Victoria 3941. 

Slelanie's photo supplied by her r'amiK . 

Lyle Courtney, OAM 

Congratulations to Lyle Courtney, a 
long-time member of the Maryborough 
Field Naturalists Club, who was awarded 
the Medal of the Order of Australia in the 
General Division on Australia Day, 26 
January 2001. Lyle's award was 'for ser- 
vice to the community through the collec- 
tion and supply of Red-back Spider speci- 
mens for the production of antivenoms by 
the Commonwealth Serum Laboratories'. 

Inspired by an appeal from the late 
Crosbie Morrison, Lyle began collecting 
Red-backs in 1955 and over a period o\' 
more than 43 years supplied over 50,000 
spiders to CSL. The vast majority of the 
spiders came from within a 50-mile radius 
of Maryborough, and, in true field natural- 
ist style, Lyle has a record of every spider 
sent over the years to CSL. 

The individual spiders required by CSL 
had to be large, so of course when Lyle 
was collecting he would see ten times 
more Red-backs than he captured and feels 
he can justifiably claim 4 to have seen more 
Red-back Spiders than anyone else in the 
history of the human race'. 

Lyle Courtney is probably more well- 
known to many members of the FNCV for 
his untiring conservation efforts in the last 

remaining remnants of his local Box- 
Ironbark forest. 

Congratulations Lyle from all your 
FNCV colleagues. 

The Editors 

Vol. 118(3)2001 


The Field Naturalists Club of Victoria Inc. 

Reg No A0033611X * 

Established 1880 

In which is incorporated the Microscopical Society of Victoria 

OBJECTIVES: To stimulate interest in natural history 
and to preserve and protect Australian flora and fauna. 

Membership is open to any person interested in natural history and includes 

beginners as well as experienced naturalists. 

Registered Office: FNCV, 1 Gardenia Street, Blackburn, Victoria 3130, Australia. 

Postal Address: FNCV, Locked Bag 3, PO Blackburn. Victoria 3 130, Australia. 

Phone/Fax (03) 9877 9860; International Phone/Fax 61 3 9877 9860. 

John Landy, mbe, The Governor of Victoria 

Key Office-Bearers 

President: Vacant. 

Vice President: Dr Noel Schleigfr, 1 Astley Street, Montmorency 3094. 9435 8408 

Hon. Secretary: Mrs Anne Morton, 10 Rupicola Court, Rowville 3178. 9790 0656 

Hon. Treasurer: Mr Alister Ferguson, 2 Scott Street, Canterbury 3126. 9836 07:9 

Subscription-Secretary: FNCV, Locked Bag 3, PO Blackburn 3 1 30. 9877 9860 

Editor The Vic. Not.: MRS MERILYN GREY, 8 Martin Road, Glen Iris 3146. 9889 6223 

Assist, Editor, The Vic. Nat.: Mr Alistair Evans, 2/5 Glenbrook Avenue, Clayton 3168. 8505 4339 and 

Mrs Anne Morion, as above. 
Librarian: Mrs Sheila Houghton, FNCV, Locked Bag 3, PO Blackburn 3130. AH 5428 4097 
Excursion Co-ordinator. Mr Dennis Meltzer, 8 llarcourt Avenue, Caufleld 3162. 9523 1853 
Book Sales: Dr Aean Parkin, FNCV, Locked Bag 3, PO Blackburn 3130. AH 9435 5749 
Book Brokerage: Mr Ray White, 9 Longtown Court, Craigieburn 3064. AH 9308 3770 
Newsletter Editors: Dr Noel Schleiger, as above and Mr Keith Marshall, 8/423 Tooronga 

Road, Hawthorn East 3 123. 9882 3044 
Conservation Coordinator. Mr Jim Walker, 167 Balaclava Road, Caul field 3162. 9527 5601 

Group Secretaries 
Botany: Ms Karen Dobson, 58 Rathmullen Road, Boronia 3155. BH 9877 9860 
Geology: Mr Rob Hamson, 5 Foster Street. McKinnon 3204. 9557 5215 
Fauna Survey: Ms Sophil Small, 107 Bondi Road, Bonbeach 3196. All 9772 2848 
Marine Research: Mr Michael Lyons. 2/18 Slonnington Place, Toorak 3142. AH 9822 8007 
Microscopical: Mr Ray Power, 36 Schotters Road, Mernda 3754. 9717 351 1 


Members receive The Victorian Naturalist and the monthly Field Nat News free. The Club organis- 
es several monthly meetings {free to all) and excursions (transport costs may be charged}- Field 
work, including botany, mammal and invertebrate surveys, is being done at a number of locations 
in Victoria, and all members are encouraged to participate. 

Yearly Subscription Rates 

- The Field Naturalists Club 

of Victoria Inc. 

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Concessional (pensione 



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Send to: FNCV, Locked Be 

g 3, PO Blackburn, 

Victoria 3 130 


Printed by Brown Prior Anderson, 5 Evans Street, Burwood, Victoria 3125. 




Volume 118(4) August 201 

I 2 3 OCT 2001 

Published by The Field Naturalists Club of Victoria since JHH4 


Vale lima Dunn 

Photographer and Naturalist 

Around I960 lima joined the Native 
Plants Preservation Society and, in 1963, 
the Bird Observers Club. She joined the 
Field Naturalists Club of Victoria in 1972. 
From that time she was an active participant 
in the Club, especially the Botany Group, 
leading excursions and giving talks, includ- 
ing a memorable slide show of high country 
plants set to music, lima enjoyed attending 
Club and Botany Group meetings, and was 
a regular until prevented by frailty in recent 
\ ears. She often brought along some inter- 
esting recent find for the table of exhibits, 
and also helped to prepare displays for open 
days. Her husband, David Dunn, also 
attended many Club activities, and was 
FNCV Treasurer from 1980 to 1984 (see 
The Victorian Naturalist 1 14: 259). 

Already a keen photographer before join- 
ing the FNCV, her knowledge of natural 
history and skill in wildflower photogra- 
phy developed rapidly, her pictures being 
much admired for their artistic quality as 
well as their technical excellence, llma's 
favourite subjects were orchids and fungi, 
and she also photographed many wildflow- 
ers. She had a wide knowledge of plants 
and fungi, was interested in growing native 
and exotic orchids, and was also interested 
in the details of natural history, such as 
observing insect pollinators of orchids. 
lima sent in one of the very first batches of 
records to the Kungimap scheme in 1995, 
and continued to support the scheme by 
providing records and photos. 

A number of Ilma's photographs appear 
in two recently published books. One is 
'The Momington Peninsula - a Field Guide 
to the Flora, Fauna and Walking Tracks* of 
which she was also a joint author with the 
late Stephanie Rcnnick. More recently, the 
book 'Wild flowers of Victoria', by 
Margaret Corrick and Bruce Fuhrer. con- 
tains further examples of her work. 

lima and her husband David were enthu- 
siastic supporters of the 'Photoflora* com- 
petitions and exhibitions organised by the 
Native Plants Preservation Society from 
1963 to 1980. lima contributed both as a 
committee member, slide contributor and 
judge. She also played a major part in 

organising the subsequent 'MinL- 
Photoflora' series of audiovisuals which 
were made available to the public for bor- 
rowing and display. 

lima was actively involved in the many 
projects of the Society to save and protect 
small areas of valuable native vegetation in 
danger of being lost to development. 
Through this activity she became a founda- 
tion member of the group whose work led 
to the setting aside of the Barak Willem 
Flora Reserve in South Belgrave with its 
wealth of botanical interest. 

lima was very generous in allowing oth- 
ers to use her photos in talks and publica- 
tions. Her photos appeared in the Viridans 
CD-ROM Wild Plants of Victoria, and are 
also represented in the NRE Flora 
Information System. A superb photo of the 
blue toadstool Entoloma viresecem. taken 
by lima in New Zealand, featured on the 
front cover of a recent issue of The 
Victorian Naturalist, Volume 1 18 (2). Her 
collection of more than 5 000 photographs 
is now housed at the Royal Botanic 
Gardens Melbourne, lima and David were 
close friends of Jim and Mavis Willis and 
lima also took some photographs for Jim 
on excursions in his later years. 

In her last years, when no longer able to 
attend meetings or visit the bush, lima con- 
tinued to enjoy her nature photography 
using the many fascinating plants, flowers 
and insects in her own garden. Serious ill- 
health in early 2001 curtailed her activity 
but she reached her 90* birthday in May, 
celebrating the occasion quietly with 
friends and relatives. She died peacefully 
in her sleep on the night of her birthday. 

lima will be remembered fondly by her 
many friends in the FNCV for her gentle 
and inquisitive nature. She was always 
good company on excursions, and ever 
willing to share her knowledge of and 
enthusiasm for plants and fungi, and assist 
others with photographic techniques. 

This tribute has been compiled 

from information kindly supplied by 

Geoff and Ruth Christensen, John Eichler, 

Paul Gullan, Tom May and Hilary Weatherhead 



Volume 118(4)2001 



Editor: Merilyn Grey 
Assistant Editors: Alistair Evans and Anne Morton 

Research Report Long Distance Transport of Arsenic by Migrating 
Bogong Moths from Agricultural Lowlands to 
Mountain Ecosystems, by Ken Green, Linda Broome, 
Dean Heinze and Stuart Johnston I 12 

Contributions A Review of Insect-induced Galls and Mistletoes on Buloke 
Allocasuarina luehmannii in the Victorian Wimmera, 
by Malt hew F. Wright and Diana R. Burgess 1 I 7 

Opportunistic Vertebrate Predation by the Squirrel Glider 
Petaurus norfoieensis, by Greg J. Holland 123 

Human and Natural Impacts on the Upper Yarra Region with 
Reference to the Yellingbo Nature Conservation Reserve: 
a Review, by Sabine Kasel 127 

Book Reviews Nature Photography, by Ken Griffiths, reviewed by 

Anne Morton 142 

Wildflowers of Victoria, by Margaret G. Corriek and 
Bruce A. Fuhrer, reviewed by Bernadette Sinclair 143 

Honours David Ashton, OAM 140 

W. Rodger Elliot, am 141 

Tribute Vale lima Dunn 1 10 

ISSN 0042-5184 

Cover: The Squirrel Glider Petaurus norfoieensis has been found to occasionally \'c^d on 
vertebrates. Photo by John Seebeck. See article on page 123. 

Our web page: 
email: f n e v fa; v i c n e t . n e I . a u 

Research Report 

Long Distance Transport of Arsenic by Migrating Bogong 
Moths from Agricultural Lowlands to Mountain Ecosystems 

Ken Qreen 1 , Linda Broome 1 , Dean llein/e ; and Stuart Johnston 1 


Bogong Mollis Agrotis Infusa (Lepidopteraj Noeltiidae) migrate in spring rrom the inland plains of 
eastern Australia to aestivate up to 1000 km away in rock crevices in tors and perf glacial block- 
streams in the Snowy Mountains and Victorian Alps. In spring/summer 2000/01, heavy rains washed 
debris from caves in the Snowy Mountains, killing adjoining grass. Arsenic was detected in soils 
from Ibe caves and soil and grass from oulvvash areas, hut not in soils and grass from adjacent tmaf- 
Icetcd areas. Faeces I'rom mammalian predators of moths contained more arsenic than faeces Irom a 
herbivore from the same region. Arsenic levels were higher in moths from caves in the Snowy 
Mountains where vegetation was killed than in moths from the ACT or Victoria. The results indicate 
long distance transport ol sublethal quantities of arsenic which are then concentrated to damaging 
levels b\ the millions ol" moths at aestivation sites, {The Victorian Homralist 118(4). 2001, 112-110.) 


The larvae of Bogong Moths Agrotis 
injnsu (Noeluidae) are found Irom autumn 
to spring in eastern Australia from the 
Darling Downs in Queensland, south to 
the north-western plains o\' Victoria (Fig. 
1 ). These ureas have historically been used 
lor grazing and cropping, and the Bogong 
Molh cutworm larvae are sometimes con- 
sidered an agricultural pest (Common 
l l >>4). The larvae Teed on annuals, hut in 
the absence of their food plants over sum- 
mer the mollis migrate to the Australian 
Alps where they fast while aestivating gre- 
gariously in rock crevices and caves 
(Common 1954). Historically, Bogong 
Moths formed an important part of the 
summer diet of Aboriginal people from 
around the Australian Alps (Flood 19X0). 
Today they still form an important pari o\~ 
tlie diets oi' many vertebrate species, 
including the endangered Mountain 
Pygmy-possum Burramys parvus, the 
most reliant of the native mammals on 
Bogong Moths (Manseruh and Broome 

Heavy rains in November 2000 washed 
accumulated debris ol' dead moths out o\' 
main aestivation sites. In January 2001 

1 National Parks and Wildlife Service, Snowy 
Mminuiins Region* I'o Ua\ 222%, Jindabyns NSW 

162 ' 
National Parks and Wildlife Service, Phraateaed 

Species I Inil, l'( ) Ho\ 2115, <>eunhc\ an, NSW 2620- 
I .i I robe University, PO Box &2 I, Wodonga, 
\ ieioria J689 

1 Johnston Environmental Consulting IMy I id, 5 
Nfghtmgalc I anc, Berridalc, NSW 2628 

complete mortality of grass Poa fuwceitiitc 
in the outwash /.one at one site prompted 
an investigation of possible chemical cont- 
amination in the moths, the affected soils 
and vegetation. 


In order to examine soil chemical proper- 
lies in detail, sot 1 samples were collected 
(approximately 0-10 em depth) from up to 
live separate areas within each site and 
samples were then pooled. Samples were 
collected from within eaves used as aesti- 
vation sites by Bogong Moths, in the area 
outside the cave over which water and 
debris from the cave had drained, and as 
close as possible to this but outside of* the 
cl ra i n age I i ne fro m t h e ca v e . Soil 
exchangeable cations were determined 
using an ammonium acetate extraction 
(Lambert 1978) and analysed on a Varian 
Flame At om i c A bso r p t i on S pee t ro- 
photomeler. Statistical analysis of arsenic 
levels was undertaken using two-wa\ 

I'rom preliminary findings it was estab- 
lished that arsenic occurred in higher con- 
centration in affected soils, and therefore, 
subsequent analysis concentrated on this 
one element. 

Bogong Moths were collected live by 
hand at aestivation sites or by ultra violet 
moth lights at Ml. (iingera (ACT), South 
Ramshead (Snowy Mountains NSW) and 
from Ml. Bullerand Ml. Buffalo (Victoria) 
(Fig, I). Sample si/.c varied from 50-120 
moths depending upon availability, and 


The Victorian Naturalist 

Research Report 

Ml Gingera 

*-J ^**Sttl Ramshead 

| Self mulching soils 

H Areas above UOOm 

100 200 300 


Fig. 1. Map of south eastern Australia showing 
areas above 1400 m altitude, including the 
mountain aestivation sites sampled in the pre- 
sent studv, and the chief areas of self-mulching 
soils that appear to be the mosl important breed- 
ins Sr 

samples were pooled and fro/en as soon as 
possible after capture. Analysis was of a 
subsample of approximately 50 moths 
(adjusted to give approximately equal 
mass) from each location. Analysis of 
arsenic levels in Bogong Moths was con- 
ducted using a nitric acid digest (modified 
from Rayment and lligginson 1992) with 
arsenic determination on a Varian Vista 
ICP-MS (Inductively Coupled Plasma - 
Mass Spectrophotometer). 

Samples of grass were collected from 
three to four sites of approximately 400 
cm within the area outside the cave over 
which water from the cave drained (dead 
grass) and from adjacent to this, outside of 
the cave drainage but still close to the 

Table 1. Elemental arsenic content of Bogong 
Moths Agrotis infusa compared to a known 
sample of 0.0000 (' 1 arsenic (for use with 
samples at low concentrations). 


Elemental arsenic 
( 1 ) 

Control (known sample) 
Mt. Gingera (ACT) 
South Ramshead (NSW) 
Mt. Buffalo (Vic) 
Mt. Buller(Vic) 



rocks (live grass). Grass samples were 
pooled, sub-sampled and then prepared 
using a wet acid digestion method using 
hydrochloric acid (Lambert 1978, Rayment 
and lligginson 1992) and analysed on a 
Varian Flame Atomic Absorption 

Sub-sampling of stored faeces of 
Mountain Pygmy-possums was conducted 
following the discovery of arsenic in the 
mountain system. Faecal samples had been 
collected annually for dietary studies and 
stored fro/en. Individual samples were 
sub-sampled so as to retain information on 
diet, and all samples for one area were then 
pooled. Three other mammal species were 
also tested. These were trapped at Smiggin 
Holes. 3.5 km from the nearest Bogong 
Moth aestivation site. These had differing 
diets ranging from insectivorous (Dusky 
Antechinus A nice hi mis swainsoml), 
omnivorous with the major food being fun- 
gus and insects (Bush Rat Raiiits fuscipes) 
and one obligate herbivore (Tooarana or 
Broad-toothed Rat Mastacomys fuscus) 
(Green and Osborne 1994). Samples from 
the latter species were chosen as represen- 
tative of background levels of arsenic in 
mountain mammals. Only M. fuscus is 
marked individually on the trapping grid, 
so samples could be collected from indi- 
viduals over the three days of trapping. For 
the other two species which were not 
marked individually, faeces were pooled 
from all animals after the first night's trap- 
ping. Analysis of arsenic levels in faecal 
samples was undertaken using ICP-MS 
(Inductively Coupled Plasma - Mass 
Spectrometry) on a Hewlett Packard 
HP4500 [CP-MS using nitric acid digest 
(Rayment and lligginson 1992). 

Vol- 118(4)2001 


Research Report 

Table 2 Arsenic levels in soils adj 

acenl i 

o moth aestivation 


s \v 


live moths were sampled and 

lor .ill sites combined (Each site is pooU 

:d from up to five suui| 


.) Mean and standard deviation. 


Grass slate 

1 It tinnhil arsenic 

( 1 ) 

South Ramshead site 2 in cave 



South Ramshead she 2 outwash 




South Ramshead site 2 undisturbed 



Average of 8 sites in cave 



Average of 8 sites outwash area 


0.5035J 1.2553 

Average of 8 sites undisturbed 

1 ive 


Mi. < ringcra in cave 



Ml. Gingera outwash area 



Ml. Giiigera undisturbed 



Results ;iiid Discussion 

The movements of arsenic From Bogong 
Moths to soil to grass and from moths to 
mammals are firmly established (Tables l- 
4). 1 here was a significant trend (F 3,593, 
I' 0.05) of decreasing levels of arsenic in 
soils from caves to unaffected sites outside 
of drainage lines (Tabic 2) thai mirrored 
I he observed effect on vegetation. The 
analyses of unaffected soils, live grass and 
herbivore faeces indicated that the arsenic 
in the affected soil, dead grass and faeces 

of insectivores was not of local origin but 
had been introduced to the system by 
immigrant insects. The presence of arsenic 
in the most heavily preyed upon insect, the 
Bogong Moth (fable 1). indicates that 
these moths arc the source of arsenic at the 
aestivation sites. Bogong Moths do not 
ilx\\ locally during aestivation (Common 
1954) so it is most likely that the arsenic 
originated in (he soils where the larvae 
Feed (II .B. Common, pets, contm.'). The 
distances between the larval sites inland to 
the aestivation sites in the mountains is up 
to 1000 km. This finding constitutes yet 
another example of long-distance transport 
o\' pollutants, bui one that is unusual in 
that an insect is the transporting agent. 
Although there are lew data on insects, the 
levels of arsenic detected in moths at the 
most affected site were well below levels 
causing mortality of moths elsewhere 
(Eisler 1994). Arsenic levels in moths 
were highest at the location where the 
impact of outwash from aestivation sites 
on vegetation was first noted at South 
Ramshead. Arsenic levels in caves and 
outwash ( Table 2) relied the differing lev- 
els found in the moths at Mount (iingera 
and South Ramshead (fable I). Soils at 

Tabic -V Elemental arsenic content in affected 
and unaffected grass beside moth aestivation 
sites at South Ramshead. (Each site is pooled 
from up to four samples.) 

Silt- <■ 

niss state 


omental arsenic 


Site 1 

edge of cave 



outwash area 



Site s 




outwash area 

i )ead 


Site (> 

outwash aiea 



live other sites where grass was killed had 
similarly elevated levels of arsenic in the 
cave and outwash relative to undisturbed 
SOtt. Unfortunately the phenomenon was 
noticed loo late in the season to sample 
moths at those sites prior to their emigra- 
tion, fhe compound containing the arsenic 
has not yet been identified, due lo the 
shortage of moths subsequent lo the main 
migration, but all dead grass contained 
levels of arsenic not found in live grass 
(Table 3). There was obviously uptake oi' 
arsenic from the soil by the grass although 
the causal connection of arsenic with grass 
mortality is noi Rrml> established, fhe 
arsenic levels in soils in two caves at 
South Ramshead, a major aestivation site 
south-west of Mt. Koseius/ko, were high- 
er, at I 5.7 and 23,8 ppm, than residues 
generall) found in farmlands in America 
(Yan-Chu L994) and orchards in New 
South Wales (EPA I995) but within the 
range of residues accumulated in orchards 
in America (Yan-Chu l°°-4). 

Arsenic appears lo be well entrenched in 
the mammalian insectivore food chain. 


The Victorian Naturalist 

Research Report 

Table 4. Elemental arsenic content ( 1 ) of faeces of three mamma! species that feed on Bogong 
Moths and one herbivore {Mastacomvs fuscus) acting as a control. 


H u rramys parvus 

* 1 994 and 1995 combined. 





Trap grid 1 





Trap grid 2 





Trap grid 3 


Trap grid 4 





Trap grid 5 





Trap grid 6 





Smiggin Holes: 

Ant echinus swainsonii 


Ratius fusclpcs 


Maslaconiys fitscus 


with only one species of small mammal 
tested, the herbivorous Tooarana or Broad- 
toothed Rat, being unaffected. The impacts 
of arsenic within the mountain ecosystem 
are unknown. The small size and the rarity 
of dead specimens of the endangered 
Mountain Pygmy-possum make it difficult 
to collect samples to determine the levels 
in tissue and to speculate as to its possible 
effect in suppressing the population of 
Mountain Pygmy-possums. 

Bioaccumulation of environmental pollu- 
tants and their concentration by terrestrial 
organisms normally occur in situ in. for 
example, plants such as willows (Sa/ix 
spp.) {Larison et al 2000). Exceptions to 
this arc where transport of pollutants 
occurs through the action of wind or water 
prior to uptake (Sivertsen ei al. 1995; 
Kates et at 2000) with levels generally 
decreasing with distance from the source 
(Kalas et al 2000). What is less frequently 
documented is the long-distance transport 
of small amounts of chemicals by individ- 
ual organisms and subsequent concentra- 
tion to detrimental levels. The altitudinal 
flow of anthropogenic nutrients such as 
crop fertilisers has, however, been docu- 
mented for phosphorus in windblown 
Alfalfa Moths Loxo stage cerureolis 
(Halfpenny 1994). 

Polluting sources such as smelters and 
fossil fuel power plants are major sources of 
arsenic in surface soils (Yan-Chu 1994). 
However, Bogong Moths come from 
upwind of the eastern seaboard of Australia 
where industry is concentrated. It is possible 
that there are natural sources of arsenic in 

systems from which the larvae feed which 
are amplified by bioaccumulation via the 
Bogong Moths. However, a more likely 
source is agricultural. The use of arsenic in 
agriculture has left a legacy of broad-acre 
contamination of soils, mainly associated 
with areas of intensive agriculture and horti- 
culture (EPA 2001 ). Arsenic has been used 
in a variety of agricultural applications: in 
pesticides, insecticides and in cattle and 
sheep dips (Azcue and Nriagu 1994). It has 
also been used as lead arsenate for the con- 
trol of moths in fruit crops (Buchanan 1977; 
Yoon and Kim 1977). From the 1860s to 
1940s, when DDT was introduced, arsenical 
compounds were the major insecticides 
available to agriculture (Nriagu and Azcue 
1990) and remained in use in Australia until 
the 1950s and 1960s (EPA 2001). The 
major use of arsenic is still in agriculture in 
various forms including monosodium 
methylarsonate (MSMA) (A/cue and 
Nriagu 1994). There are live MSMA herbi- 
cide sprays currently licensed for use in 
agriculture in New South Wales (National 
Registration Authority 2001). In soils, 
arsenic is present as arsenate (AsO,-), and 
its behaviour resembles that of phosphate 
(Davies and Jones 1988). For example, 
arsenate is absorbed by ligand exchange on 
hydrous iron and aluminium oxides (Davies 
and Jones 1988). This study shows that the 
soils of the Snowy Mountains have natural- 
ly low levels of exchangeable arsenic. 
Addition to these soils of exogenous 
arsenic, which is readily taken up by plants, 
has led to major impacts on the vegetation 
around the aestivation areas. 

Vol. 118(4)2001 


Research Report 

The presence of arsenic in all four years 
for which faeces of B. parvus were lested 
(Table 4) suggests that arsenic may be 
transported to the mountains annually. 
This suggests that there may be regular 
absorption of arsenic by the cutworm lar- 
vae, probably from their food plants. 
Small amounts of arsenic are then trans- 
ported at low concentrations, by individual 
moths but in extremely high numbers, and 
concentrated where they congregate in the 
mountains, causing visible and extensive 
damage. The arsenic content of moths and 
soils at Mt. Gingera (Tables 1 and 2), con- 
trasting to those at South Ramshead and in 
Victoria, suggests that there are different 
sources of these moths. It has long been 
suspected that Bogong Moths in different 
aestivation sites come from different areas 
and this study adds credence to that specu- 
lation. This question may be resolved by 
genetic studies matching adults to larvae 
from known agricultural areas. Collection 
of material for this study is currently in 
progress with the primary aim of the 
genetic study being to narrow the focus of 
searching for the source of the arsenic. 


We thank Ian Common and led Edwards 
(CSIRO) Tor discussions on Bogong Moths and 
Prances Johnston lor help with statistics. 


A/cue. .I.M and Nriagu. J.O. (I994>, Arsenic: histori- 
ciil perspectives. In "Arsenic in the environment Pan 
1\ pp. 1-15. Id. .1.0. Nriagu. (Wiley. New York.) 

Buchanan, G.A. (1977). The seasonal abundance and 
control of light brown apple moth, Spfphyas pastvU- 
tana (Walker) ( l,epidoptcra;Torlriciciae), on 
grapevines in Victoria. Australian Journal of 
. ii>rhu/tura/ Research 28, 125-132. 

Common, I.P.R. (I9S4). A study of the ecology of the 
adult bogong molh Agrotix hilusa (Boisd.) 
(1 cpidoptera: Noctuidae). with special reference to 
its behaviour during migration and aestivation. 
Australian Journal of Zoohgy 2, 223-26?. 

Davies, B.E. and Jones, L.H.P. (1988) Micronutrients 
and toxic elements. //; 'Russell's soil conditions and 
plant growth, I t" T edition', pp. 780-814. Ed. A. Wild. 
(Longman Scientific & Technical: Essex.) 

Environment Protection Agency (1995). 'Assessment 
of orchard and market garden contaminated sites dis- 
cussion paper". (Environment Protection Agency, 


Environment Protection Agency (2001). Website 

Eisler, R. (1994). A review of arsenic hazards to plants 
and animals with emphasis on fishery and wildlife 
resources. In 'Arsenic in the environment Part 2*, pp. 
1 85-259. Ld. J.O. Nriagu. (Wiley. New York.) 

Elood, J.M. (1980). 'The moth hunters'. (Australian 
Institute of Aboriginal Studies: Canberra.) 

Green, K. and Osborne, W.S. (1994). -Wildlife of the 
Australian Snow-Country'. (Reed: Sydney.) 

Halfpenny, J.C. (1994). Animals of the mountains, hi 
'Mountains', pp. 80-95. Ed. J.D. Ives. (Rodale Press: 

Kalas. J. A., Steinnes. 1:. and Lierhagen, S, (2000). 
Lead exposure of small herbivorous vertebrates from 
atmospheric pollution. Environmental Pollution 107, 

Lambert, M..I. (1978). 'Methods for Chemical 
Analysis'. Technical Paper No. 25. (Forestry 
Commission NSW: Sydney.) 

Larison, J.R., Likens. G.E., Lil/patrick, J.W. and 
Crock, J.G. (2000). Cadmium toxicity among 
wildlife in the Colorado Rockv Mountains. Nature 
406, 181-183. 

Mansergh, I.M, and Broome, L.S. (1994), 'The moun- 
tain pygmy-possum of the Australian Alps' 
(University of NSW Press: Kensington.) 

National Registration Authority (2001). Website 

Nriagu, J.O. and Azcue, J.M. (1990). Environmental 
sources oi' arsenic in food Advances in 
i'jiviroiunental Seienee and Technology 23, 103-127. 

Rayment, G.E. and Higginson, L.R. ( 1992). 'Australian 
Laboratory Handbook of Soil and Water Chemical 
Methods'. (Inkata Press, Melbourne.) 

Sivertsen, T., Daae, ILL., Godal, A. and Sand. O. 
(1995). Ruminant uptake of nickel and other ele- 
ments from industrial air pollution in the Norwegian- 
Russian border area, Environmental Pollution 90, 75- 

Yan-Chu, II. (1994). Arsenic distribution in soils. /;; 
'Arsenic in the environment Part I*. pp. 17-49. Ed. 
J.O. Nriagu. (Wiley, New York.) 

Yoou, .LK. and Kim, K.S. (1977). Control of the fruit 
piercing moths. Korean Journal of Plant Protection 
16, 127-131. 

International Year of Mountains 2002 

The United Nations has declared 2002 as the International Year of Mountains. The 
aim is to celebrate and focus global attention on mountain communities and environ- 
ments. A number of activities associated with mountain environments in Australia are 
already planned including a 'biodiversity blitz' at Kosciuszko in January (under the 
auspices of the Australian Institute of Alpine Studies) and a conference on rehabilita- 
tion of mountain ecosystems in November (Australian Alps Liaison Committee). 


The Victorian Naturalist 


A Review of Insect-induced Galls and Mistletoes on Buloke 
Allocasuarina luehmannii in the Victorian Wimmera 

Matthew I . Wright 1 and Diana R. Burgess" 


Remnants of Buloke Allocasuarina luelunaimii on the Wimmera plains of Victoria are hosl to gall- 
inducing insects and mistletoes. The taxonomy, lite cycle and morphological variability of the 
Cylindrocoecus gall-formers are reviewed, together with their potential lor damage and methods of 
control. The hosl range and population status of two buloke-associated mistletoe species, Annvma 
tinophyllum and Lysiana exocafpi, are described and their effects on the buloke host are considered. 
The rc\ie\\ revealed a lack of information about environmental factors that ma\ cause gull and 
mistletoe populations to increase at the expense of their buloke hosts. {The Victorian SztmraHsi 118 (4), 
2001, 1 17-122. > 


Buloke Allocasuarina luehmannii R.T. 
Baker (Casuarinaeeae) is the dominant or 
co-dominant tree species in remnant wood- 
lands on the Wimmera plains o\' Victoria 
( I _ Lint et al. 1998). These ecosystems were 
once extensive on the better-drained, fer- 
tile soils of the Wimmera (Gouchcr 1982; 
Morcom and Westbrooke 1998) and 
played a vital role in the ecology of indige- 
nous flora and fauna (Connor 1996; 
Emison 1996; Morison ant! Harvey 1997), 
After extensive clearing. 95% (16,700 
knr) of this land is now under cultivation 
(Land Conservation Council 1985), leav- 
ing a mosaic of isolated remnants on road- 
sides and freehold land. 

Buloke is listed as depleted under the 
Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act (Morison 
and Harvej 1997). Its failure to regenerate, 
especially in northern areas (Flux 1998), 
and the death of mature trees (W. Jones 
pers. comm.; D. Burgess unpubi data) is 
cause for concern. Decline and death of 
native trees in isolated remnants has been 
attributed to increased infestation by 
mistletoes and insects (Foyn I9S7; Wylie 
et al, 1993) resulting from vegetation 
removal (Thomas 1997). This review will 
discuss the gall and mistletoe parasites of 
Buloke, and will consider their implica- 
tions for the survival and conservation o\~ 
Buloke in the Victorian Wimmera. 

Currcm add] . . ■ 15 Kalmaine < ourt, Diamond I ■ I 
\iL-mm 3089. 

I 1 1 r i n_- 1 1 1 address: Department of Htiunn. I ;i I robe 
I : ni\rr i .iiy, Victoria 3086, 

Authm torcoiTCSpond£rtc£. 

Insect-induced galls 

Insect-induced galls are atypical growths 
produced in response to insect feeding on a 
host plant (Mani 1992; Austin and 
Dangerfield 1998). Growth forms range 
from almost normal plant organs to bizarre 
and complex abnormalities (Mani 1992). 
Gall shape and morpholog> is often unique 
to the inducing insect species (Rohfritseh 
1992), facilitating its identification 
(Manners 1993). Most gal I -inducers are 
host speci fie (Dreger-Jauffret and 
Shorthouse 1992), the result of a prolonged 
evolutionary association (Roskam 1992). 
Galls are physiological sinks, drawing 
phoioassimilates from the plant into spe- 
cialised nutritive cells that supply the gall 
insect (Rohfritseh 1992; Ananthakrishnan 

Recorded gall-inducers ofCasuarina and 
Allocasuarina species are few compared to 
some other major Australian plant genera. 
They include three closely related species 
of Thysanoptera, which produce bulbous 
woody galls on tree stems (Jones and Elliot 
1995; New 1997), species of Hymenoplera 
which form c o n e - 1 i k e bud ga I i s on 
(\isuarina quaclrtvalvis (French 191 1 ), and 
Skuscmyia allocasuarinae (Diptera), which 
damages lateral branch buds of 
Allocasuarina verlici/Iaki (Kolesik 1995). 
The COCCid Cylintlrococcus spp. form galls 
similar in appearance to Allocasuarina 
fruit on host stems (Gullan 1984; Jones 
and Elliot 1995). 

Cylinclrococcus casuarinac Maskell is 
the only gall-inducer recorded on Buloke, 
and is in fact specific to Casuarina and 

Vol. 118(4)2001 


( 'ontrihutions 

Alheasiianna (Chilian 1978, 1984). 
CyUndrococcus Spp. arc by far the most 
intensively studied gall-formers on 
( asuarinaceae. Initially Cv/indrococcits 
was raised to include C. casuarinae and C. 
spiniferus (Maskell 1892), then two further 
species, ( '. amplior (Maskell 1893) and C. 
gracilis (fuller 1897), were reported from 
Casuarina in Australia. However, Chilian's 
study (1984) of the gall type and adult 
female morphology of these four species 
revealed insufficient features to support 
this separation. She therefore reclassified 
them into two *species-pairs\ C, amplior 
being synonyinised with C casuarinae, 
and ( '. gracilis with ( '. spiniferus. 

The lifecycle ol ( ' casuarinae is typical 
ol the coecids. fhc female, a sessile, 
plump, pinkish insect, about 0.4 cm long 
when fully grown, occupies the central gall 
cavity throughout her life (Jones and Elliot 
1 99S). Small, six legged larvae move out 
through an opening in the gall, migrate 
along the stem, and form feeding attach- 
ments (Mckcown 1942). The introduction 
of insect saliva into the stem stimulates 
host cell growth, causing the stem lo 
expand and sutTOUIld the larva (Mckcown 
1942; McMaugh 1994). The male, in con- 
trast lo the large degenerate female, under- 
goes complete metamorphosis into a small, 
gall-independent insect, with a single pair 
of wings, non-functional moulhparls and 
long external genitalia ((iullan 1978). It 
escapes through an opening in the gall 
(Mckcown 1942), then fertilises a female 
by penetrating between the bracts of the 
female gall with its long external genitalia 
((iullan 1978). 

Male and female galls are generally 
found on the same stem ((iullan 198T) and 
are often densely aggregated, reflecting the 
limited dispersal of the independent larvae. 
The mature female gall o\' C. casuarinae 
closely mimics the fruiting capsules of 
AHocusuurina species (Jones and Elliot 
1995), the galls being conical to fusiform, 
10-32 mm long, widest (2-15 mm) towards 
the base, and with a stalk 1-5 mm long. 
I he gall body is grey, glabrous or pilose. 
with brownish apex and basal bracts. The 
body consists of 4-6 thickened bracts that 
taper to the pointed apex, and the base is 
surrounded b> 6-15 whorls of leaf-like 
bracts that become smaller towards the 

stalk (Chilian 1984). The male gall is simi- 
lar in structure to that of the female, but is 
distinguished by its slender shape (maxi- 
mum length 17 mm, maximum width 2,5 
mm) and extremely attenuate bracts 
(Gullan 1978). 

Gullan (1984) found that mature galls of 
C. casuarinae range in shape from broad to 
slender, with the two extremes being most 
common. The broad gall, with a maximum 
diameter of 4-15 mm, is of the form C. 
umplior and the slender gall, maximum 
diameter 2-7 mm (usually <5 mm) is of the 
form ('. casuarinae. Although galls broaden 
with maturity, this does not account for the 
observed morphological variability. Nor 
docs host plant response cause gall variabil- 
ity, because galls of both types were collect- 
ed from a single specimen of Sheoak, 
Ulocasuarnia verticillatQ (Gullan 1984). 
CyHndrococc us casuarinae is widely dis- 
tributed (although infrequent) in south- 
eastern Australia and in the south-west of 
Western Australia. Gullan (1984) ruled out 
geographic variation as the cause of si/e 
variability, even though galls from coastal 
localities were often thinner than those col- 
lected inland. Galls growing on Buloke in 
New South Wales were of the broad form 
only; for example, collections from 
Burrcwarra Point contained only broad 
galls, while both slender and broad galls 
were collected from Sheoak. This suggests 
that the potential for infestation of Bulokc 
by the slender gall was present, but was 
either not expressed or not recorded. 
Chilian (1984) suggested that variation in 
gall form results from the dioecious nature 
of illocasuarina spp., galls growing on 
male and female plants differing in si/e. 
This hypothesis has not been thoroughly 
tested, but Wright (iwpuhi data) observed 
both slender and broad galls on Buloke in 
the eastern Wimmera of Victoria, an area 
not sampled by Gullan. Furthermore, slen- 
der galls were found on both sexes of 
Buloke, providing evidence to reject 
Gillian's hypothesis. Since Gillian's collec- 
tions were primarily from Sheoak, conclu- 
sions regarding the associations between 
C. casuarinae and Bulokc must still be 
tentative. ITirther research, based on a larg- 
er host sample and geographic distribution, 
is needed lo understand this morphological 


The Victorian Naturalist 


There is little information about the 
effects of Cylindrococcus spp. on the host 
plant. Gullan (1978) noted that galls of C. 
spiniferus arose from the growing tips of 
branchlets. In the absence of compensator) 
growth, termination of tip growth would 
reduce the photosynthetic capacity of the 
plant. Deleterious effects on growth and 
reproduction might also result from the 
physiological sink effect of galling, espe- 
cially under conditions of stress. This topic 
is largely unresearched. but is important, 
especially in view of the decline and deple- 
tion of Buloke noted earlier. 

Control of Cylinclrococcus spp. has 
received little attention, as Buloke is not an 
agricultural or economic species. Jones 
and Elliot (1995) suggested that in an 
undisturbed environment Cylindrococcus 
galls are controlled by parasitic wasps. 
Artificial methods of control, including 
chemical control and removal of galls by 
hand (Jones and Elliot 1995: McMaugh 
1994), have been largely unsuccessful. Fire 
is known to eliminate some phytophagous 
insects (Gill 1996}, but the impact of burn- 
ing on the host trees and ecosystem may 
make this method of control unadvisable. 
Applications of fertiliser can reduce insect 
attack (I ladlinglon and Johnston 1998), but 
the effectiveness against Cylindrococcus 
has not been assessed. 

In addition to the gall-formers, plant galls 
support whole communities of insects, 
including natural enemies, A study by 
Austin and Dangcrfield (1998) on gall 
wasps of Banksia marginata revealed that 
57% of sampled galls were occupied by 
other insects, including I I species of 
Hymenoptera, three of Coleoptera and one 
of Eepidoptera. The relationships between 
these secondary colonisers are poorly 
understood and there are no descriptions of 
the insect communities in Cylinclrococcus 
galls. This highlights the limited knowl- 
edge of the ecology of Cylindrococcus 
galls and the need for further research, 
especially before undertaking gall control, 
as chemicals that remove natural control 
agenls within the gall may exacerbate 
rather than reduce galling. 

Mistletoe parasites 

Mistletoes are highly specialised and 
geographically widespread hemi-parasitic 

plants. Australia has 86 species of native 
mistletoe, distributed in forests, woodlands 
and shrubland communities throughout the 
continent (Reid 1997). 

The response of a host plant to mistletoe 
parasitism varies from spectacular growth 
abnormalities to almost no visible symp- 
toms (Calder 1997). Mistletoes compete 
for water, inorganic ions and metabolites 
(Ehleringer et al. 1985; Downey et al. 
1997). causing reduction or inhibition of 
host growth (Nicholson 1955; Reid et al. 
1994) and defoliation and replacement of 
host foliage with mistletoe (Kenneally 
1973). Mistletoe infection may also pro- 
duce imbalances in growth regulation by 
the host, and introduce toxins through the 
haustorial interface (Stewart and Press 
1990; Downey etal 1997). 

Damaging levels of mistletoe infestation 
both in agricultural environments and in 
forests in Victoria have been recorded 
since the earlv 1900s (Patton 1917; Kerr 
1<)25; Calder 1997; Fagg 1997). 
Nevertheless, host death was uncommon, 
and was generally attributed to drought, 
salinity, senescence or rural dieback (Hail 
1961 ). The interaction between mistletoe 
damage and these factors has not yet been 

Of the 12 mistletoe species native to 
Victoria only two are recorded on Buloke 
(Calder 1997). Amycma iinophylium or 
Buloke Mistletoe is found only on 
Allocastiur'ma and Casuarina spp. (Lunt et 
al. 1998). This species shows striking 
mimicry, its leaves being so similar to the 
F3uloke branchlets that it is easily over- 
looked, except when in flower (Fletcher 
1996; Lunt et al. 199S). Amyema linophyl- 
ium is considered vulnerable in Victoria 
(Lunt et at. 1998), although Calder (1983) 
suggested that mimicry has caused its 
under-represenlation in many surveys. 
Fletcher (1996) reported heavy infestation 
of ,J. linophylium on roadside Buloke and 
Calder (1997) described the species as l a 
local problem' in areas of Victoria. This 
suggests either a recent increase in 
localised populations of.-/, linophyttum, 
particularly in disturbed remnants, or 
improved recognition of the mistletoe 

L ys tana exocarpi. the Harlequin 
Mistletoe, has a much wider host range 

Vol. 118(4)2001 



than A. linopJty/lunu including species of 
Casuartna, Acacia, Cassia. Exocarpus, 
exotic trees and even other mistletoes 
(Calder 1997). It is easily recognised on 
Buloke due to the bright green, broader 
foliage, and the dense clumps that can 
weigh down the Buloke branches. Large 
dead haustoria are common on fallen 
Buloke limbs, suggesting limb abscission 
in response to mistletoe parasitism (Race 
andStclling 1997). 

Harlequin Mistletoe is widespread and 
abundant, but is not regarded as a problem 
species. I lowever, Calder ( 1997) noted that 
reports of heav\ infestations are common, 
suggesting that parasitism by L cxocarpi 
may be increasing. Population explosions 
of mistletoe plants along roadside verges 
and disturbed vegetation remnants are well 
documented in Australia (May 1941; 
KennealK 1973; Norton and Smith 1999). 
for example, Lamont and Southall (1982) 
recorded ten limes as many mistletoe 
(Amycma preissii) individuals per potential 
host {Acacia acuminata) along a roadside 
than in an adjacent nature reserve. 

Increased mistletoe infestation of tree 
species on roadsides and in disturbed envi- 
ronments has been attributed to various 
causal factors, depending on the locality 
and vegetation type. These include 
increased water run-off from roads (Norton 
and Smith 1999). increased nutrient avail- 
ability (Cale and Hobbs 1991; Van 
Schageu et ai. 1992), reduced incidence of 
hot fires (May 1941; Gill and Moore 1993; 
Gill 1996) and increased host stress due to 
drought, insect or fungal attack and soil 
compaction (Calder 1983). Birds play an 
important role in mistletoe dispersal; 
reduced numbers of perching sites in an 
area may encourage flight along roadside 
corridors (Lamont and Southall 1982; 
Saunders and de Rebeira 1991 ), while age- 
ing host trees provide conditions 
favourable to the Mistletoebird Dicacum 
hirundiweeum and other pollinating bird 
species (Calder 1983). If these birds in turn 
displace mistletoe control agents, such as 
possums, defoliating insects and other fru- 
givorous birds that are less effective in dis- 
persing mistletoe seed (Thomas 1997), an 
increase in mistletoe population may 
result. Physical removal of mistletoe has 

been minimal clue to the risks and costs 
involved (Fagg 1997). Fletcher (1996) 
recorded an increased incidence of mistle- 
toe on roadside Buloke, but was unable to 
identify the cause. 

The effects of mistletoe parasitism on 
Allocasuanna spp. have not been reported, 
but studies on Eucalyptus hosts (Kerr 
1925; Nicholson 1955; Race and Stelling 
1997) indicate that mistletoe reduces 
vigour and increases host mortality. 
Preston (1977) and Knutson (1983) found 
an inverse relationship between host 
vigour and the number of mistletoe plants 
per host, and Knutson (1979) concluded 
that damage to mistletoe-infested trees was 
due to parasite induced water deficits. In a 
survey of farm trees in northern NSW, 
24% of heavily infested Eucalyptus b/akc- 
lyi died in 33 months (Reid et a/. 1994). In 
trees with 50% of crown occupied b\ 
mistletoe, the average increment in branch 
diameter was about half that of uninfested 

There is also evidence, however, that 
mistletoe parasitism is not harmful to the 
host. Assessment of 208 eucalypts carrying 
indigenous mistletoes around Melbourne 
found that 57% were healthy and there was 
no correlation between host health and the 
number of mistletoe plants (Race and 
Stelling 1997). These authors concluded 
that mistletoe is not necessarily harmful, 
but forms a symbiotic relationship with the 
host in times of low environmental stress. 
The suggestion that mistletoe may only be 
detrimental in times of stress has received 
limited attention. Stewart and Press (1990) 
noted that high transpiration rales of xylem 
feeding mistletoes affect the water balance 
of the host, but concluded that the level o\' 
water stress depends on water availability; 
in a dry environment, mistletoe parasitism 
may kill the host, while in areas of high 
rainfall, the effects may be negligible. 
Similarly, Ullmann et al. (1985) found that 
water use by mistletoe is disadvantageous 
only if the host is severely damaged or 
senescent. In areas of minimal ecological 
stress, the minor impact of mistletoe sup- 
ports the conclusion that mistletoe is not a 
problem but rather a symptom of ecologi- 
cal imbalances (Thomas 1997). 


The Victorian Naturalist 



Although the gali-inducers on Buloke 
have been identified and studied since 
1892, questions remain about the morpho- 
logical variability of the galls, while their 
effect on Buloke vigour and mortality has 
not yet been investigated. These effects 
will depend on the level of infestation, 
which in turn may be influenced by host 
vigour and thus by environmental factors. 
Surveys of gall infestation in Buloke rem- 
nants in conjunction with environmental 
assessments are therefore a high priority. 
In addition, research is needed to study the 
lifecycle of C. casuarinae in relation to the 
phenology of Buloke growth and reproduc- 
tion, and assess the biocontrol activity pro- 
vided by secondary gall colonisers. Only 
then will informed decisions be possible 
regarding the necessity or otherwise for 
gall management and appropriate manage- 
ment methods. In the meantime, restora- 
tion and protection of these old and isolat- 
ed Buloke remnants would be prudent. 


It is unclear whether mistletoes pose an 
immediate threat to the conservation of 
Buloke, but the potential for high rates of 
parasite recruitment and host tree mortal it) 
is present, especially in damaged roadside 
corridors and in isolated stands. On-going 
surveys of the distribution and abundance 
of mistletoe on Buloke together with 
assessment of host vigour are needed to 
determine whether the host-parasite rela- 
tionship is changing. It must also be recog- 
nised that A. (inophyllum and L, exocarpi 
are important components of the indige- 
nous flora and in turn provide habitat and 
food for indigenous fauna (Van 1993). 
Hence mistletoe control methods cannot be 
based simply on eradication, but must 
focus on management to restore the eco- 
logical balance and sustain a health) equi- 
librium between mistletoe and their Buloke 
hosts. This requires ecological and physio- 
logical studies of the interaction between 
the mistletoe species and Buloke. 


We would like to thank Mr Geoff I larve> of ihc 
Department of Natural Resources at Charlton, 
and the WhykeS, Green and Jones families of 
Charlton, Litchfield and Donald, respectively, 

for sharing their knowledge of the Winimera 

flora with us and for allowing us to study the 
Buloke on their properties. 


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The Victorian Naturalist 


Opportunistic Vertebrate Predation by the 
Squirrel Glider Petaurus norfolcensis 

Greg J. Holland 1 


The Squirrel Glider Petaums norfolcensis is classified as an exudivore/insectivore feeder, with sta- 
ple dietary items including insects, insect exudates and plant exudates. During a study of the forag- 
ing ecology of the species in northern Victoria, an adult female glider was observed to harass a nest- 
ing Common Bronzewing Phups chalcoptera, ultimately removing the bird before consuming eggs 
within the nest. A description of this observation is provided and vertebrate predation by the Squirrel 
Glider is discussed in relation to other published accounts. Vertebrate predation by the Squirrel 
Glider is considered infrequent and opportunistic, but may provide an additional protein and energy 
source for lactatine females, (77k' Victorian Vatwatisi 118(4), 2001, 123-126.) 


The Squirrel Glider Petaurus norfolcen- 
sis (Fig. 1 ) is an arboreal, gliding possum 
of eastern Australia with a distribution 
extending from northern Queensland to 
Victoria (Menkhorst 1995; Suckling 
1995a). The species is considered endan- 
gered in Victoria and is listed under the 
Victorian Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act 

The diet of the Squirrel Glider is similar 
to that of its Australian congeners the 
Sugar Glider Petaurus brevicep$ t 
Mahogany Glider Petaurus gracilis, and 
Yellow-bellied Glider Petaurus australis 
(Menkhorst 1995; Strahan 1995). All are 
classified as exudivore/insectivorc feeders 
with dietary items including plant exudates 
(e.g. eucalypt sap), insect exudates (e.g. 
honevdew), and insects themselves (Smith 
19S2"; Goldingay 1986; Kavanagh 1987; 
Howard 1989; Quin ct al. 1996; Carthew 
et al. 1999; Jackson 2001). More Specifi- 
cally, studies of the diet of the Squirrel 
Glider have found the species to rely on 
nectar and pollen, sap. Acacia gum, Acacia 
seeds and arils, fruit, lichen, manna, hon- 
evdew, and Invertebrates as food sources 
(Menkhorst and Collier 1987; Suckling 
1995a; Holland 1998; Sharpe and 
Goldingay 1998). The diets of all 
Australian petaurids tend to be opportunis- 
tic, with the importance of individual 
dietary items varying both temporally and 
spatial ly. 

School "t Ecologj and Environment, Deakjn 
I nivcrsilv, 662 Blackburn Road, Clayton, Victoria 3I6& 

The following is a description of an 
observation of an individual Squirrel 
Glider preying upon a vertebrate animal. 
Such accounts are rare in the literature for 
both Squirrel Gliders and petaurids in gen- 
eral, particularly concerning free-ranging 
animals. The observation was made during 
a detailed study of the foraging ecology of 
the species in northern Victoria. 

Vertebrate predation observed in the 
Squirrel Glider 

To study the foraging ecology of the 
Squirrel Glider, individual animals were 
fitted with radiocollars and data was col- 
lected via direct timed observations. The 
study was conducted along a strip of rem- 
nant roadside vegetation in the northern 
plains of Victoria, near Euroa, Vegetation 
along the road reserve forms an open 
woodland dominated by Grey Box 
Eucalyptus microcarpa (Ross 2000). 

On the night of 12 November 1998, 
observations were made of an adult female 

Fig. 1. Squirrel Glider Petaurus norfolcensis 
Photo b\ John Sceheck. 

Vol. 118(4)2001 



glider, known to be carrying a single, fur- 
less pouch young, approximately 2.5-3.0 
cm in length (crown-rump). 

At 2228 hours the glider approached a 
nesting Common Bronzewing Phaps chal- 
coptera (Higgins and Davies 1996). The 
nest was located in the fork of a near hori- 
zontal Grey Box branch approximately 
10 m above the ground. The Common 
Bronzewing became very distressed as the 
glider sniffed (he edge of the nest. Pacing 
the glider, the bird rapidly flapped its 
wings while remaining on the nest. This 
behaviour did not deter the Squirrel Glider, 
which then forced its head beneath the bird 
for a short period. At 223 1 hours the glider 
moved past the nest and sat stationary on 
the same branch, approximately one metre 
distant. The Common Bronzewing ceased 
its wing Happing and remained on the nest. 
After one minute the glider again 
approached, sniffing the nest and pushing 
its head under the bird as above. Again the 
Common Bronzewing became severely 
agitated and resumed its wing Happing. 
This continued for a period of one minute 
before the Squirrel Glider again moved 
approximately one metre past the nest and 
sat stationary. After a further one minute 
of inactivity, the glider moved towards the 
nest once more and continued harassing 
the Common Bronzewing. After 20-30 
seconds the Common Bronzewing vacated 
the nest, flying to a nearby tree. The 
Squirrel Glider then moved approximately 
half a metre from the nest and sat station- 
ary for one minute. It then moved back, 
placing most of the front half of its body 
into the nest. For a period of 10 minutes 
the glider remained in this position, mov- 
ing only its head in a licking motion. 
During this lime it was inferred that the 
Squirrel Glider broke the shell and con- 
sumed the contents of eggs within the nest. 
At 2246 hours the glider left the nest and 
engaged in other activities. 

Inspection of the nest the following 
morning found no trace of eggs. However, 
an eggshell was found on the ground 
almost directly beneath the nest. This 
eggshell had a neat, narrow incision on one 
side and was completely void of contents. 
It is possible that this egg had been con- 
sumed by the Squirrel Glider the previous 


Although classified as an exudivore/ 
insectivore feeder, this observation indi- 
cates that the Squirrel Glider is capable of 
preying upon the eggs of nesting birds. 
Similar accounts of vertebrate predation by 
free-ranging Squirrel Gliders are uncom- 
mon. Winter (1966) described a remark- 
ably similar observation of a Squirrel 
Glider attacking a nesting Magpie-lark 
GraHina cyanoleuca near Brisbane. 
Queensland. Prior to consuming the eggs 
the glider bit the adult bird and lifted it 
from the nest using its teeth. The Magpie- 
lark later died from injuries inflicted by the 
glider. In their investigation of the diet of 
the Squirrel Glider in Victoria, Menkhorst 
and Collier (1987) found leather fragments 
in the faecal samples of several individu- 
als. The absence of bone fragments created 
doubt as to whether the gliders in question 
had killed and eaten roosting birds. Hence, 
it was hypothesised that feathers may have 
been inadvertently ingested while consum- 
ing bird eggs (Menkhorst and Collier 

Fleay (1947) described the carnivorous 
tendencies of Squirrel Gliders, Sugar 
Gliders, and hybrids of these two species 
in captivity. All were observed to attack 
small birds placed in their enclosures. 
Sugar Gliders were also responsible for the 
consumption of a House Mouse A/us 
domesticus. Published accounts of verte- 
brate predation by wild Sugar Gliders are 
rare, despite much work having been done 
for the species. Mckenzie et ai (1977) 
observed a Sugar Glider eating a Peaceful 
Dove Geopelia striata in the Kimberley 
region of Western Australia, 

The above indicates that both the Squirrel 
Glider and Sugar Glider include avian prey 
in their diet, if only infrequently. Both are 
known to attack small birds in the wild and 
in captivity, and there are now two 
accounts of free-ranging Squirrel Gliders 
consuming bird eggs. There is no pub- 
lished information relating to vertebrate 
predation for the Mahogany Glider or 
Yellow-bellied Glider. 

All previous accounts of avian predation 
for both the Squirrel Glider and Sugar 
Glider have involved a direct physical 
attack on an adull bird. In this observation, 
the Squirrel Glider made no attempt to 


The Victorian Naturalist 


physically attack the nesting Common 
Bronzewing. It is possible that the larger 
size of the Common Bronzewing (28-36 
cm, 320-350 g; Higgins and Davies 19%), 
in relation to the Squirrel Glider (18-23 cm 
excluding tail, 190-300 g; Suckling 
1995a), deterred the glider from making a 
direct physical attack. The Magpie-lark 
(26-30 cm, 75-95 g; Pizzey and Knight 
1999; W. Boles. Australian Museum, 
Sydney, pers, comm.) is considerably 
lighter than the Common Bronzewing, and 
is the only species recorded as a victim to a 
Squirrel Glider attack in the wild (Winter 
1966). Similarly, recorded avian victims of 
the Sugar Glider ( 16-21 cm excluding tail, 
95-160 g; Suckling 1995b) have been com- 
paratively small (Peaceful Do\e: 20-24 
cm, 41-66 g; European Blackbird Turclus 
merula: 25-25.5 cm. 75-95 g; Fleav 1947; 
YlcKcnzie el ai. 1977; Boles 1988; 
Higgins and Davies 1996). 

The diet of petaurid possums is consid- 
ered to be low in protein, with planl and 
insect exudates such as sap and honeydew 
being rich in carbohydrates but containing 
little protein. I lence, such possums must 
include protein-rich food items such as 
arthropods and pollen in their diet to meet 
their protein demands (Smith 1982; Quin 
et ai. 1996; Jackson 2001 ). Protein is a 
particularly important dietary component 
during reproduction, with lactating females 
requiring increased protein intakes (Smith 
1982: Henrv and Suckling 1984; Sucklin-z 
1984; Goldingav 1986; Sharpe and 
Coldinga) 1998). Several authors have 
found that petaurids time their reproduc- 
tive efforts so that lactation occurs when 
protein-rich food sources (i.e. pollen 
and/or arthropods) are most abundant 
(Smith 1982; Suckling 1984; Quin 1995; 
Jackson 2001). Smith (1982) observed the 
Sugar Glider to forage for arthropods in 
preference to plant exudates while lactat- 
ing, despite the abundance of exudates dur- 
ing the same period. 

I he Squirrel Glider in this observation 
was a female carrying a single pouch 
young, and most faecal samples identified 
as containing feather fragments b\ 
Menkhorst and Collier (1987) were from 
female gliders, female gliders may engage 
in egg predalion when provided with the 
Opportunity in order to facilitate lactation. 

Not only are bird eggs rich in protein, they 
are also rich in fats that would assist lactat- 
ing animals in satisfying increased energy 
demands (Green 1997). The risk of injury 
associated with attacking and/or removing 
the parent bird may make egg predation 
less worthwhile for male gliders and non- 
lactating females given their lower protein 
and energy requirements. 

Vertebrate predalion by the Squirrel 
Glider (and Sugar Glider) appears to be 
opportunistic. Despite observing Squirrel 
Gliders for in excess of 3 000 minutes oxer 
the course of a year, only one incidence of 
vertebrate predation was recorded. Hence, 
it is unlikely that the Squirrel Glider 
actively searches for vertebrate prey in the 
course of general foraging activities. 
Instead, it is concluded that gliders capi- 
talise on vertebrate prey only when suit- 
able targets are encountered by chance 
whilst foraging for more abundant and reli- 
able food sources. This explains the dearth 
of records for such behaviour. 

Acknow lodgements 

This work was undertaken while enrolled as a 
student within the School of (,eolog\ and 
Environment, Deakin University. Thanks to my 
supervisor. Dr. Andrew Bennett, for guidance, 
support, and comments on an earlier draft. I also 
thank Dr. Rodnev van der Kee for guidance, 
field assistance, and for generous!) supplying 
equipment and materials. Natalie Woodward 
provided Held assistance and commented on 
earlier drafts. I he comments of an anonymous 
referee also improved the quality of the manu- 


Boles. W I ! I £38 i l he Robins and Flycatchers ol 
Australia. ( Angus and Robertson Publishers: 

Carthew, S.M., Goldtngay, K.I and Funnel], DX. 
(WW), feeding behavioiu of the VeJlow-belb'ed 
Girder (Petaurus uustratts) at the western edge o\' its 
range. Wildlife ResearehlG, l ( )')-2ox. 

I)\R1 (2000). I hastened Vertebrate I anna in 

Victoria 2000; A systematic list ol" vertebrate fauna 

considered CXtinCl, at risk of extinction or in major 
decline in Victoria. Victorian Department of Nalural 
Resources and Environment, t ast Melbourne. 

I K.i , I). (!'M7|. (ihdersol iheUirn 1 rees. (Bread and 
Cheese Club: Melbourne.) 

(ioldingav. R.L. £ 19S6). (ceding behaviour of the 
Yellow-bellied Glider, Petattrus ewstralis 
(Marsupialia: PetauridaeJ, ai Bomhala, New South 
Wales. Australian Mammalogy 9, 17-25. 

Green, B. (I ( W7|. field energetics and water fluxes in 
marsupials. hi Marsupial Biology: Recent Research, 
New Perspectives', pp. 143-162. ids N.K, Saunders 
and I A. Hinds. (University ol New South Wales 
Press Ltd.; Sydney.) 

Vol. 118(4)2001 



Henry, S.R. and Suckling, G.C. < 1 984). A review of the 
ecology of the Sugar Glider, In 'Possums and 
Gliders', pp. 355-358. Rds A. P. Smith and I.D. 
Hume. (Australian Mammal Soeietv: Sydney) 

lliggins, P.J, and Davies. S.J.J.F (eds) (1996). 
Handbook of Australian, New Zealand and Antarctic 
Birds. Volume 3; Snipe to Pigeons. (Oxford 
University Press: Melbourne.) 

Holland, G.J. (l c >98). Time budget and related aspects 
of the foraging behaviour and habitat use of the 
Squirrel Glider Petaums norfolcensis. Honours the- 
sis, Deakin University, Victoria. 

Howard, J, (1°8°). Diet of Pctaurus breviceps 
(Marsupialia: Petauridae) in a mosaic of coastal 
woodland and heath. Australian Mammalogy 12, 15- 

Jackson, S.M. (2001). Foraging behaviour and food 
availability of the mahogany glider Peiaurus gracilis 
( Petauridae; Marsupialia). journal of Zoology 253, 1 - 

kavanagh, R.P. (1987). Forest phenology and its effect 
on foraging behaviour and selection of habitat by the 
Yellow-bellied Glider, Peiaurus australis Shaw. 
Australian Wildlife Research 14. 371-384. 

Mckenzie, N.U., Chapman, A., Youngson, W.K. and 
Burbidge, A. A. (1977). Fhe Mammals of the 
Drysdale River National Park. North Kimberley, 
Western Australia. In 'A Biological Survey of the 
Drysdale River National Park, North Kimberley, 
Western Australia', pp. 79-86. Eds E.D. Kabay and 
A. A. Burbidge. (Wildlife Research Bulletin Number 
6, Western Australian Department of Fisheries and 
Wildlife, Perth. Western Australia.) 

Menkhorst, P.W. (ed.) (1995). Mammals of Victoria: 
Distribution, Ecology and Conservation. (Oxford 
University Press: Melbourne.) 

Menkhorst." P.W. and Collier, M. (1987). Diet of the 
Squirrel Glider, Peiaurus norfolcensis (Marsupialia: 
Petauridae). in Victoria. Australian Mamnaktgy 11, 

Piz/ey, G. and Knight. F. (1999). Field Guide to the 
Birds of Australia. (Angus and Robertson Publishers: 

Quin, D.G. (1995). Population ecology of the Squirrel 
Glider (Petawus norfolcensis) and the Sugar Glider 
{P. breviceps) {Marsupialia: Petauridae) at 
Limeburners Creek, on the central north coast of 
New South Wales. Australian Wildlife Research 22, 

Quin, D., Goldingay, R., Churchill, S. and Engel, D. 
(1996). Feeding behaviour and food availability of 
the Yellow-bellied Glider in North Queensland. 
Wildlife Research 23, 637-646. 

Ross, J. FF (ed.) (2000). A Census o( the Vascular 
Plants of Victoria. (Royal Botanic Gardens of 
Victoria: Melbourne.) 

Sharps, DJ. and Goldingay, R.L. (1998). Feeding 
behaviour of the Squirrel Glider at Bungawalbin 
Nature Reserve, north-eastern New South Wales. 
Wildlife Research 25. 243-254. 

Smith, A. P. (1982). Diet and feeding strategies of the 
marsupial sugar glider in temperate Australia. 
Journal of Animal Ecology 51, 149-1 66. 

Strahan, R. (ed.) (1995). The Mammals of Australia. 
(Reed Books Australia: Sydney.) 

Suckling, G.C. (1984). Population ecology of the Sugar 
Glider, Petaurus breviceps, in a system of fragment- 
ed habitats. Australian Wildlife Research 1 1, 49-75. 

Suckling, G.C. (1995a). Squirrel Glider. In 'The 
Mammals of Australia', pp. 234-235. Ed. R. Strahan. 
(Reed Books Australia: Sydney.) 

Suckling, G.C. (1995b). Sugar Glider. In * I he 
Mammals of Australia', pp. 229-231. Ed. R. Strahan. 
(Reed Books Australia: Sydney.) 

Winter, .I.W. (1966). Bird predalion by the Australian 
marsupial Squirrel Glider. Journal of Mammalogy 
47, 530. 

23 rt International Ornithological Congress 

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The congress includes forty symposia covering diverse topics such as 'Influence of 
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The Victorian Naturalist 


Human and Natural Impacts on the Upper Yarra Region 
with Reference to the Yellingbo Nature Conservation Reserve: 

a Review 

Sabine Kasel 1 


The Upper Yarra Valley and Dandenong Ranges region has a rich and diverse social history. Past 
and current land management activities, including gold mining, timber harvesting, agriculture, and 
urban development, have fragmented and degraded the landscape. Currently, there is a wide range of 
agricultural and horticultural activities within the region, some of which "are in decline (e.g. tkiir\ 
farming) whilst others are expanding rapidly (e.g. grape production). 

The Yellingbo Nature Conservation Reserve is situated within the Shire of Yarra Ranges and is best 
known as the last remaining habitat of the Helmeted Honeyeatcr Lichenostotmts melanops subsp, 
cassiJix, Victoria's official State bird emblem. The general land use activities within the Shire of 
Yarra Ranges are reflected in changes in land use in areas bordering the Yellingbo Nature 
Conservation Reserve. Over the past fifty years there has been a marked reduction in the area ol' 
native forest (from 47 to 13%) and a corresponding increase in pasture based activities (from 53 to 
83%) and some intensive horticulture (0 to 4%). With current revegetation strategics and ongoing 
land purchases, there will be a gradual increase in forested areas bordering the Yellingbo Nature 
Conservation Reserve. {The Victorian \uiurohst l IS (4). 2001, I2T-1 39.) 


In 1982 a report was produced for the 
then Fisheries and Wildlife Division enti- 
tled A Historical Survey of Yellingho 
(Curtis 1982). The following review is 
loosely based on this report hut provides 
more detailed historical information and 
has been substantially updated to incorpo- 
rate more recent events and material. 

The Yellingbo Nature Conservation 
Reserve (YNCR) is located approximate^ 
48 km east of Melbourne (37°47* S\ 
I45°32' E; altitude 70-120 m above sea 
level) within the Shire of Yarra Ranges, a 
region that covers a total of 276 000 ha. 
The Shire of Yarra Ranges was formed in 
December 1994 and now oversees the 
majority of land previously included with- 
in Shires of Lilydale. Sherbrooke, Upper 
Yarra and Hcalesville (Fig. 1 ). 

This paper begins with a general descrip- 
tion of the Yellingbo Nature Conservation 
Reserve. This is followed by the natural 
history of the region that includes the ori- 
gin of the township of Yellingbo, land set- 
tlement and past natural events such as 
fires. Hoods and droughts. The physiogra- 
phy, geology, and soils of the region are 

Botany Department. University of Western Australia, 

Ncdlancls 690". Western Australia. Current address: 

Centre lor Land and Water Resource Management. 

(;ueunslaad University, Bruce Highway, North 

Kockhampion 4702, Queensland. 

then discussed. The paper concludes with a 
general description of land use activities 
within the Shire of Yarra Ranges and a his- 
torical account of changes in land use 
activities surrounding the YNCR. 

Yellingbo Nature Conservation Reserve 

The YNCR was created in May 1965 to 
protect the habitat of one of the few 
remaining populations of the Helmeted 
Honey eater, Lichenostomus melanops 
suhsp. vussidix (nomenclature after 
Christidis and Boles 1994). Victoria's bird 
emblem. At that time, the YNCR was only 
170 ha In size but has since grown with 
subsequent purchases to 59 1 ha. The 
YNCR now supports the last remaining 
population of the Helmeted Honeyealer 
(approximately 100 individuals) following 
the extinction of relict groups at (Sardinia 
Creek and near the township of Cockatoo 
around the time of the l Ash Wednesday* 
wildfires in February 1983 (Smales et at 

YNCR is situated in a sheltered valley 
system between the Dandenong and Great 
Dividing Ranges, the former providing a 
high-rainfall catchment for the permanent 
streams in the YNCR. The climate is cool- 
temperature. Mean daily maximum tem- 
peratures range from 13.6"C in winter to 
25.6°G in summer (YNCR 1988-1994 

Vol. 118(4)2001 



Grcal Rivaling Ran^c 

(Shire of lilihiim) 

(Shire erf 


5 10 15 km 

Fig. 1. The Shire of Yarra Ranges. Solid line major rivers. Dotted line boundaries of the former 
Shires of l.ilydale, Healesville, Sherbmoke, Upper Yarra and Dandenong Ranges, Shaded region 
The Yellingbo Nature Conservation Reserve. Localities mentioned in the text are indicated by corre- 
sponding numbers. Localities: 1. Beenak; 2. Belgrave; 3. Christmas Hills; 4. Cockatoo; 5. 
Coranderrk; 6. Don Valley; 7. Emerald; S. Lerntree Gully; 9. Ferny Creek; 10. Gembrook; I I. 
Healesville; 12. Hoddles Creek; 13. Kallista; 14. Kalorama; 15. kinojakc; 16. Launching Place; 17. 
Lilydale; 18. Lyslerfield; 19. Macclesfield; 20. Monbulk; 21. Mooroolbark; 22. Mt Dandenong; 23. 
Ml Evelyn; 24. Noojee; 25. Olinda; 26. Powelltown; 27. Sassafras; 28. Selby; 29. Seville; 30. Silvan; 
31. The Basin; 32. The Patch; 33. Toolangi; 34. Upper Beaconslleld; 35. Upper Ferntree Gully; 36. 
flpwey; 37. Wandin; 38. Warburton; 39. Woods Point; 40. Woori Yalloek; 41. Yarra Glen; 42. Yarra 
Junction; 43. Yellingbo; 44. Yering. 

inclusive; DNRF impubl data). The annu- 
al rainfall is approximately I UK) mm 
which falls throughout the year with peaks 
in winter and spring. There are generally 
fewer than ten frosts each year but fogs 
may persist for much of an estimated 50 to 
100 days each year (McMahon and 
franklin 1993). 

The YNCR encompasses narrow strips of 
riparian and swamp vegetation along the 
Woori Yalloek, Cockatoo, Macclesfield 
and Sheep Station Creeks (Tig. 2) that are 
dominated by Mountain Swamp Gum 
Eucalyptus cctmphara^ Swamp Gum E. 
ovata and Manna Gum E. vimina/is 
(nomenclature for all flora species after 
Ross 1996). YNCR includes the largest 
and most intact example of E, camphoru 
swamp woodland in Victoria, a 170 ha 
drainage basin along the lower reaches of 
the Cockatoo and Macclesfield Creeks 
(McMahon et ul. 1991). This swamp is 

subject to seasonal inundation which lasts 
from three to ten (or more) months per 
year (McMahon and Franklin 1993). Much 
of the swamp was formerly used for agri- 
culture (Backhouse 1987). 

Tree decline is a serious problem 
throughout the YNCR and most of the 
eucalypts (/.'. camphoru, E. ovata, E. vimi- 
nal/s, Green Scent Bark /:. fulgens) dis- 
play symptoms of decline or dicback 
(McMahon et at. 1991). In 1991 an esti- 
mated 25-30% of the eucalypl canopy was 
affected by dieback (McMahon et al, 
1991). Dicback is particularly severe with- 
in the swamp and in 1991 approximately 
30% of the swamp was affected by dieback 
(McMahon and Franklin 1993). Since 
1991 a further 12% of the swamp has been 
affected by dieback, and 20% of the affect- 
ed trees (predominately E. camphora) are 
dead (Carr 1998; Craigie et a!. 1998). Most 
of the land bounding the YNCR is cleared 


The Victorian Naturalist 


Woori Yallock Creek 

Boggy Creek 

Middle Creek 

Woori Yallock Creek 

\rlift, ml Drain 

^Shepherd t reek 

CockatOC Creek 

I- ill. 2. The Yellingbo Nature Conservation Reserve. Solid line, water course. Dotted line, reserve 
boundary (as it stood in 1995), Dashed line, Melbourne Water pipeline. 

ov semi-cleared farmland and uses include 
cattle grazing, hobby farming, market gar- 
dening, poultry and pig farming. A large 
artificial lake adjacent to the northern end 
of the Cockatoo Creek forms part of a holi- 
day ('Way of Life') camp. Two Melbourne 
Water pipeline casements cut through the 
YNCR; one crosses the Cockatoo Creek in 
the central part of the YNCR, while the 
other runs adjacent to the northern end of 
the Woori Yallock Creek before it crosses 
the YNCR just after these two creeks con- 
verge (Fig. 2). The Maccleslleld-Woori 
Yallock Road runs between the Woori 
Yallock and Cockatoo Creeks and crosses 
the YNCR just north of their junction. 



Immediately prior to the arrival of 
European settlers, four major groups of 
Aborigines occupied what is now the 
Shire of Yarra Ranges. The Aboriginal 
groups included the Boonurrong, 
Moonoba Ngatpan, Taoungurong and 
Wawurrong (or Woewurrong) people 
(Smyth 1878). Most of the region (which 
includes Vellingbo) was the territory of 

the Wawurrong people and was more or 
less continuously inhabited. The 
Wawurrong laid claim to all the land 
included within the basin of the Yarra 
River and the Dandenong Ranges. The 
boundaries followed the course of the 
Maribyrnong River in the west, the divid- 
ing range to the north, the mountains con- 
taining the sources of the Yarra in the east 
and the mountains lining the Yarra basin 
in the south. 

In 1838, the number of Aborigines who 
inhabited the region was estimated to be 
205 members of the whole Wawurrong 
tribe and 87 of the Boonurrong tribe. 
Before Melbourne was settled in 1835, the 
aboriginal population would have been 
larger, but was always small (Tansley 
1978; Carroll l Q 88). 

Archaeological evidence and reports 
from early European settlers suggest that 
Aborigines preferred the river Hats around 
present-day Yarra Glen and Yering and the 
foothills around Lily dale and 
Mooroolbark. Mountainous areas with 
rough and densely- forested terrain and 
cold, wet winters were avoided and only 
visited in summer to obtain specific prod- 

Vol. 118(4)2001 



ucts and to maintain contact between dis- 
tant tribes (Tansley 1978). 

The Aborigines were a huntcr-gathcrer 
community, living well on the river Hats 
and in the foothills where game was abun- 
dant. They were semi-nomadic and roamed 
the countryside in small tribal groups in 
search of game. Their diet consisted of ani- 
mals such as possums, kangaroos, various 
water-birds and fish and vegetables such as 
the roots of small plants and a variety of 
fruits and seeds (Aveling 1972), 

Not long after the arrival of European 
settlers, reserves were created for the pur- 
pose of protecting the Aborigines from the 
settlers, many of whom were ruthless in 
dealing with the Aborigines. The largest 
Aboriginal station in Victoria was 
( oranderrk, near Healesville. The reserve 
was established in 1863 on 930 ha of land 
between Badger Creek and the Watts 
River. In 1868, the reserve was enlarged to 
I 960 ha and by 1878, the population had 
reached 148 (Massola 1975). In 1922 the 
reserve was officially closed and most of 
the remaining inhabitants were taken to 
Lake Tyers and Coranderrk was subdivid- 
ed for soldier settlement. 

The towns/lip of Yellingbo 

Yellingbo was originally known as 
Claxton after James Claxton, one of the 
earliest settlers in this particular portion of 
the Yarra Ranges Shire. Claxlon's title to 
land on the outskirts of the future township 
of Yellingbo became permanent in 1883 
and he erected a solid weatherboard build- 
ing near the Woori Yallock Creek that 
served as wine salon, post office and store 
for a number of years. Groceries were 
brought each week to Claxton from 
Lilydale bv bullock wason (Coulson 

After marrying Elizabeth Parslow, James 
Claxton moved to Melbourne to live. By 
1 888 all the titles had passed to Elizabeth's 
brother, Henry Parslow. The locality soon 
became known as Parslow's Bridge, or 
simply Parslow's. During that period, a 
grocer from Seville called at the store 
weekly, while mail was carried by a horse- 
back rider twice a week (Coulson 1959; 
Carrol! 1988). 

The post office, known as Parslow's, was 
operated for many years by members of 

the Parslow family. For some time the 
wine hall was also the post office but by 
1918 had been moved to Mrs Ellen 
Parslow's property. A telegraph and tele- 
phone office opened there on 3 February 
1921. Christopher John Parslow (nephew 
of the original selector) took over the post 
office on 14 November 1925. In the early 
1940s, the original building was replaced 
and the post office transferred to its exist- 
ing site. In March 1952 Christopher Ian 
Parslow took over functions in the post 
office. On 12 August 1946 the locality was 
renamed Yellingbo (which means 'today') 
after the last Aborigine to have frequented 
the district (Coulson 1959; Carroll 1988). 

Land settlement 

European settlement of the region began 
in 1837 with the arrival of the Ryrie broth- 
ers. They travelled overland from New 
South Wales with a large herd of cattle and 
settled on the lush river flats near the 
future site of Lilydale and called their 
property by its Aboriginal name, "Yeiing'. 
They took up a grazing licence on 17 000 
ha of the most fertile land between Woori 
Yallock and Olinda Creeks on the south 
side of the Yarra, Once established, the 
Ryries extended their grazing licence and 
established two outstations on the north 
bank of the Yarra (Marriott 1975; Tansley 
1 978; Curtis 1982; Carroll 1988). 

A number of pastoral leases were taken 
up in the Upper Yarra Vallcv between 
1835 and 1851 (Fig. 3). 'Elgara' and 
'Unwins', were taken up soon after settle- 
ment and subsequent leases included: the 
'Gulf along Dixons Creek, north of the 
present day township of Yarra Glen; 
'Christmas Hills' (which was close to the 
present day settlement of the same name); 
'Steels Flat" along the Wandin Yallock 
Creek valley; and 'Solitude 1 along the 
Woori Yallock Creek vallev (Marriott 
1975; Tansley 1978). Of these. Steels Flat 
and Solitude are of most interest since they 
were in the vicinity of Yellinabo (Curtis 

Steels Flat is believed to have been part of 
Ryrie's outstations (Curtis 1982) and was 
farmed by Robert Briefly, followed by Peter 
Kerr and David Mitchell (Curtis 1982). 
David Mitchell cleared the land, introduced 
English pasture species, and began dairying 


The Victorian Naturalist 


Mt Macctton 

SHeepstation < it 

_• Poweiltown 

Co tojwe I '-'. 
v L, Macclesfield CI 

Fig. 3, Pastoral leases of the Yarra Valley, 1835-1851 (modified from Marriott 1975). The various 
leases are indicated by differently shaded areas (see legend). The Yellingbo Nature Conservation 
Reserve is located within Steels Flat and Solitude Run. This map shows the Yarra Valley defined on 
the basis of the watersheds of the Yarra River and its tributaries. Dashed line, catchment boundaries. 
Black areas, water storage reservoirs. 

and cheese making. In the 1880s, David 
Syme took over the area and divided it into 
two parts called Killara and Dairy (Curtis 

Solitude Run in the Huddles Creek area 
is also thought to have been part of'Ryrie's 
outstations (Curtis 1982). In 1846, James 
Cavanagh operated the 1 1 580 ha Solitude 
Run which was to change hands frequently 
- some nine times in 20 years (Curtis 
1982). Each successive owner had the right 
to farm the Solitude Run, however its 
lower reaches, where Yellingbo is situated 
today, were not cleared and developed 
until the 1880s (Curtis 1982). The pastoral- 
ists preferred to graze their cattle on the 
river Hats rather than in the timbered 
regions (Tansley 1978). The following 
statement held true until the days of the 
Land Settlement Act: 'It was only around 
the homesteads that the mark of the man 
was much apparent; here the land was 
cleared both for its timber and to plant 
kitchen gardens' (Aveling 1972). Housing 
was mostly made from local materials. 
Most of the homesteads were constructed 
from hand-hewn wooden slabs and had 
shingle roofs. 

In the 1880s, the Land Settlement Act 
was introduced to Parliament with the aim 
of providing the 'everyday working man' 
with an opportunity of obtaining land for a 
low cost, under the condition that he clear 
and work the land. The proclamation of the 
act provided the impetus for 'development' 
of land throughout Victoria. An inspector 
would visit the settlements monthly to 
police this agreement. Clearing was slow 
and patchy and eventually many of the set- 
tlements were abandoned and cleared areas 
returned to scrub (Curtis 1982). 

Gold mining 

The Shire of Yarra Ranges was the site of 
several gold rushes. During the 1860s and 
1870s there was a great deal of mining in 
the Upper Yarra fields. Gold was first dis- 
covered in Emerald in November 1858 
(Marriott 1975; Curtis 1982). News of the 
find brought some 60 miners rushing to the 
district at a time when the remainder of the 
area was populated by timber workers and 
pastoralists living in the foothills, live 
months later a total of 1 000 miners were 
living on the goldfields of Emerald (set 
around the junction of Woori Yallock and 

Vol. 118(4)2001 



Menzies Creeks) (Coulson 1959; Fleet 
1970; Curtis 1982). By 1861 only 52 min- 
ers remained al the bmerald Gold fields 
since news of fresh discoveries elsewhere 
'constantly sent miners packing - virtually 
overnight* (Coulson 1959). 

(iold was discovered at Macclesfield 
(south of Yellingbo) in either 1864 or 1865 
when prospectors from the abandoned 
bmerald diggings began working their way 
along the creeks in the area (Coulson 1 959). 
The original prospecting era lasted only a 
short period but 30 years later a second find 
in Smith's Creek by four men picking 
Eucalyptus leaves began a small gold rush 
thai lasted five years. A considerable quan- 
tity of gold was removed from Macclesfield 
during the 1890s. The majority of the gold 
mining in this area was alluvial, although 
there were some quart/ claims (Coulson 
1959; Fleet 1970; Curtis 1982). 

(iold mining is now a minor activity in 
Shire of Yarra Ranges. The only opera- 
tional mine of any type is a small but inac- 
tive gold mine at Noddles Creek (Christoff 
and Wishart 1994). 

Saw milling 

Tree fellers arrived in the Yering and 
Mooroolbark area in the early 1840s. By 
the early 1850s they had cleared the 
Yering and Moorolbark areas and moved 
up the Olinda Creek valley into the 
Dandenong Forest. Saw milling was a 
large industry by the 1920s serving the 
booming housing industry in Melbourne. 
During this time, the (iembrook, Beenak 
and Hoddles Creek areas were the sites of 
most of the mills (Tansley 1978; Curtis 
1982). The number of sawmills reached a 
peak of 241 in 1921, and then declined 
steadilv, especially after 1924, to 169 in 
1930 (IXC 1991).' 

Timber from the present YNCR area was 
transported to the railway at Woori 
Yallock. A timber tramline followed the 
Sheepstalion Creek through what is now 
the YNCR (Curtis 1982). Land was cleared 
for the construction of lines for the horse 
drawn trams and the felled timber was 
used there and then to construct the lines 
(Curtis 1982). 

In the vicinity of the present-day YNCR 
office in Shaw Road, a sawmill was oper- 
ated by the Moore family in the 1930s. 

Other properties in the area had small mills 
for their own use (Curtis 1982). 

The disastrous fires of 1939 left a large 
death toll because people were stranded at 
the many isolated sawmills. The period of 
timber tramlines and isolated sawmilling 
settlements came to an end with the post- 
fire introduction of new regulations requir- 
ing that mills be located in towns. The few 
tramlines and isolated mills that survived 
the 1939 fires have decayed or have been 
destroyed. Currently there are 22 sawmills 
in the Shire of Yarra Ranges (Christoff and 
Wishart 1994). 

The raihvay 

In 1881 the Melbourne to Lilydale rail- 
way was completed. This opened the area 
to tourists and allowed local produce to be 
transported to Melbourne. The railway line 
was extended to llealesville in 1889 and 
boosted development of that township. 
Construction of a further broad gauge rail- 
way line from Lilydale to Warburton in 
November 1901 provided great advantages 
to the region surrounding Yellingbo and 
grazing country around Woori Yallock 
developed. Dairying was popular along the 
fiats of Launching Place and Don Valley 
and the orchards surrounding Wandin and 
Sevillle became more prosperous (Tanslev 
1978; Curtis 1982). 


The Shire of Yarra Ranges ranks among 
the most fire prone area in the world. Major 
fires swept the area in 1851, 1898, 1926, 
1932, 1939, 1962 and 1983 (Table 1). The 
bushfires of 14 February 1926 killed seven 
people and large numbers of livestock. A 
considerable portion of the region was 
burnt during 1932 but those fires were 
minor by comparison with the 'Black 
Friday 1 fires on 13 January 1939. 

The 1939 fires raged across much o\' 
Victoria burning vast areas of forest 
(approximately 1.4 million ha) and pasture 
and claiming 71 lives. The Mountain Ash 
E. regnans and Alpine Ash E. delegaten- 
sis forests of the tipper Yarra were severe- 
ly burnt. 

On 13 February 1983, the 'Ash Wednes- 
day' bushfires again burnt through much 
of the Shire of Yarra Ranges. Victoria was 
possibly in the midst of its worst drought. 


The Victorian Naturalist 


Table I. Major fires in the forested public land of the Upper Yarra Valley and Dandenong Ranges 
Region (after McHuuh 1991}« 





Black Thursday 



Red Tuesday 







1 934 


Black Friday 






1 983 

Ash Wednesday 





Kallista - The Patch - Selhy; Gippsland 


Sassafras - Monhulk 


Belgrave - Up\\e\ - Ferny Creek 

Monbulk; I 5 o\velllo\\n/lleales\ die 


Basin - Fernlree Gully 


Basin - fernlree Gully 

Upper fernlree Gully 

Basin - Sassafras - Ferny Creek; Gembrook; 

Olinda Creek; Ml Hvelyn; Kalorama 
Basin - Upwey; Basin - Sassafras - Ferny Creek 
I > sterfield 
Warburton Powelltown; Belgrave South - I pper Beaeonslleld: 

Mount Dandenong; Sassafras - Fern> Creek 

For example, in 1982, Warburton had its 
lowest rainfall since 1972, with just 1 026 
mm compared with the average of 1 344 
mm. Inflow into the Yarra River system in 
spring had only been about a quarter of the 
average and far less than that in the previ- 
ous severe drought in 1967-68. 

In excess of 180 000 ha of forest and pas- 
ture were severely burnt in the Ash 
Wednesday fires. In the Warburton area, 
tire damage was severe. About 36 000 ha 
were burnt in the area roughly bounded by 
Yarra Junction, Powelltown (west of 
Noojee), Upper Yarra Dam and Warburton. 
Much of this area had burned in the 1939 
bushfires and the Mountain Ash forests had 
regenerated in the 43 years since. 

A settler in the area of Ycllingbo by the 
name of Walsh, reported that his fences 
and crops were damaged severely by bush- 
fire during 1898, when Gippsland along 
with much of the remainder of the State- 
was ablaze. It is feasible then, that the 
1898 tire encompassed parts of Ycllingbo. 
Beenak. a few kilometres to the southeast 
of the YNCR. was badly burnt by the fire 
(Curtis 1982). 

The major tires affecting Yellingbo were 
those of 1926 and 1939 (Curtis 1982). 
According to a local resident, Mr Alee 
Ferguson, the bla/e of 1939 extended 
from Healesville to Woods Point (Curtis 

1982). Spot fires erupted in the Yellingbo 
area, caused by falling ash. Another local 
resident, Mr Hubert Champion, recalls 
that the area ranging from Parslow's 
through the Cockatoo Swamp was burnt at 
this time and that until World War II, the 
swamp was deliberately burnt on a regular 
basis (Curtis 1982). Mining records sup- 
port these interpretations; Protective 
Registration (a means of formally request- 
ing protection from fires and other natural 
disasters) was applied for in Januarv and 
April, 1939 (Curtis 1982). 

No lire on the scale of the 1939 'Black 
Friday 1 has been reported for the 
Yellingbo area in the post World War II 
period. In 1962 a fire extending from 
Sheepslation Creek-Hoddles Creek - 
(iembrook, claimed the lives of four of the 
Ockwell family at Woori Yallock, but 
apparently did not burn much of the pre- 
sent YNCR (Curtis 1982). 


Evidence of severe Hoods was noted by 
Grimes (surveyor-general of New South 
Wales who surveyed the shores of Port 
Phillip Bay) when he arrived in 1803 and 
houses and properties of the first settlers at 
Melbourne were Hooded within a few years 
of their arrival. Between the years I 839 and 
1954, a total of 80 Hoods were recorded for 

Vol. 118(4)2001 



the Upper Yarra Valley (Bureau of 
Meteorology 1955; Curtis 1982). 

Bureau of Meteorology records indicate 
that on average, some part of the valley is 
severely flooded every two years and gen- 
erally in the months of August, September 
and October - over 50% of all floods have 
been recorded in these three spring months. 
This is the period of greatest rainfall and 
heavy falls cannot he absorbed by the satu- 
rated soils. While most available informa- 
tion deals with the lower reaches of the val- 
ley, the alluvial flats around Yarra Glen are 
perhaps more susceptible to Hooding than 
anywhere else (Marriott 1975). 

One of the earliest records of flooding 
appeared in the 'Melbourne Age' on 16 
December 1863. The whole of the Yarra 
delta was flooded and all the local creeks 
were in full Hood. One man was drowned 
in flinders Street in the heart of the city of 
Melbourne, an indication of the severity of 
the Hoods (Curtis 1982). 

Since European settlement, the most 
severe floods in the Upper Yarra Valley 
were in late November and early 
December 1934 when a cyclonic storm 
brought 'hurricane winds, heavy seas and 
torrential rains" to southern Victoria. 
Communications were cut and isolated 
rural settlements far up the valley were lit- 
erally washed away. Bridges disappeared, 
factories and homes were flooded, and peo- 
ple drowned. The Melbourne Age, 1 
December 1934, described the storm as 'one 
of the most terrific gales ever experienced in 
the history of this Stale*. Land which now 
forms part of the YNCR was flooded during 
this time and several farmers In the region 
lost entire crops to flood wafers (Miller and 
Buckland 1992). 

The 1934 flood was recalled by Mr Alec 
Ferguson, a present-day resident of 
Yellingbo. According to Mr Ferguson 1 1 
inches (275 mm) of rain fell in 30 hours 
(Curtis 1982). Mr Ferguson stated that 'the 
water was four feet above the bridge across 
the Woori Yallock Creek on the 
Warburlon Highway' (now known as the 
'Old W'arburton Highway'; Curtis 1982). 
Mr Hubert Champion, whose family were 
amongst the early settlers of the region, 
recalls the damage, 'cows, horses and any- 
thing else in the path of the water was 
washed downstream' (Curtis 1982). 

A flood on the scale of 1934 was made 
less likely by the 'snagging' of the Woori 
Yallock' Creek during the 1930s 
Depression. In this period, drains were cut 
at the junction of the Shepherd and 
Cockatoo Creeks in an effort to reclaim 
swampy land for agricultural use and to 
further control flooding. In the early 1950s 
levy banks were constructed further down- 
stream along the Cockatoo Creek in an 
attempt to further control water flow and 
reclaim 'swampy' land (Curtis 1982). 

Applications for Protective Registration 
Certificates under the Mining Act again 
support the contention that the region is 
prone to Hooding with applications con- 
cerned with excess water in: July 1909, 
March 1934. September 1934, January 
1935, November 1936. January 1937, 
October 1937 and July 1939 (Curtis 1982). 

Another Yellingbo resident, a member of 
the original Parslow family, Mr Ian 
Parslow, recalls that during 1958 water 
rose approximately two metres above the 
present road level on Macclesfield-Woori 
Yallock Road (Curtis 1982) near the con- 
fluence of Cockatoo and Woori Yallock 
Creeks (Fig. 2). 

In 1962, floods on a scale of 1934 were 
made unlikely by the opening of the Upper 
Yarra Reservoir (see Fig. 1 ) that traps 
much of the water previously destined for 
the Yarra and its tributaries. Heavy local 
rainfall may still cause local and short- 
term Hooding and records of the 
Department of Natural Resources and 
Environment (DNRC) show that even 
average rainfall could result in water cov- 
ering the Sheepstation Creek Road for a 
distance of 50 yards (46 metres). 
According to Mr Hicks, who has a proper- 
ty on the road, floods in the area are short 
lived, one to two days on average (Curtis 


Droughts are less frequent than floods in 
the Upper Yarra Valley although their 
impact is more severe. The Bureau of 
Meteorology has recorded eight major 
drought periods for the Upper Yarra 
Valley-Port Phillip region (Table 2). In 
each case droughts were not confined to 
this region but instead were widespread 
throughout southern Victoria. 


The Victorian Naturalist 


Table 2. Major periods of drousht in the Yarra-Port Phillip region {Bureau of Meteorology 1955. 
1983a. b; after Curtis 1982). 









Major rainfall deficiencies, especially in 1 895 when rainfall in Melbourne was 
432 mm, and in 1898 when the fall was 396 mm (average was 679 mm). 

Marked shortages of rain, between May and October 1914, rainfall in Melbourne 
was 203 mm; the average for that period was 334 mm. 

From June 1925 to June 1927, rainfall in Melbourne was about half the average. 

Good rains in early 1939 were followed by 12 months of drought, ending in 
December 1940.' 

Three years of below average rainfall led to severe stock losses and bush fires. 

The most severe drought on record. Beginning in January 1967. it lasted until April 
1968. Stock, crop and home garden losses were severe. Between October 1 967 
and April 1968, rainfall in Melbourne totalled 148 mm instead of the average of 
394 mm for these months. The total rainfall for the year of 1967 was 322 mm, the 
driest since records began in 1855. 

A short yet extremely severe drought which began in the winter of 1972 and lasted 
until late February 1973. During that time, Melbourne faced its most severe water 
restrictions ever. Rainfall between March and December 1972 was about half the 


Melbourne's total rainfall in 1982 was 422 mm (average 659 mm); the fourth driest 
since records commenced and the second driest this century. The eleven month 
period from April 1982 to Tebruan 1983 was the driest on record over most of 
Victoria (338 mm). In the summer of 82/83, the rainfall total was 78 mm compared 
with an average of 1 54 mm. In 1 983, Melbourne experienced ils hottest February 
dav on record, 43.2°C 

The mining Protective Registration 
Certificates once again provide some indi- 
cation of water levels in the Woori Yallock 
Creek. Water shortages were recorded on 
the following dates: 19 November 1929, 
24 November 1936, 6 February 1937, 6 
December 1938, and 10 March 1939 
(Curtis 1982). 


The Shire of Yarra Ranges spans two 
land s> stems. These are the Eastern 
Victorian Uplands, which cover most of 
the region; and the Yarra Plains, in the 
lower reaches of the former Shire of 
Lilydale (Rowan 1988). The southern edge 
of the former Sherbrooke Shire is also at 
the northern margin of the Basalt Plains 
region, as evidenced by a few plant species 
characteristic of that area such as the Zig- 
Zag Rush Schoenus brevifolius (Christoff 
and Wishart 1994). 

The physiographic evolution of the Shire 
of Yarra Ranges was governed by combi- 
nations of erosion, faulting, warping and 
volcanic activity. Kxtensive areas of out- 
cropping bedrock have given rise to areas 
of high elevation. Prolonged erosion has 
produced a step-like succession of partial l\ 
preserved erosion surfaces, the dissection 

of which has resulted in considerable relief 
(McAndrew and Marsden 1973). Three 
main cycles of erosion are recognizable in 
central Victoria, culminating in turn in the 
Baw Baw surface, the kinglake Surface 
and the Nillumbik Terrain (McAndrew and 
Marsden 1973). The Shire of Yarra Ranges 
lies within the Kinglake Surface and the 
Nillumbik Terrain; of these, the Nillumbik 
Terrain is the most important. 

The Nillumbik Terrain is the prominent 
erosion surface as shown by the generally 
concordant height of ridges in the area of 
Silurian-Lower Devonian bedrock east and 
northeast of Melbourne. It rises in eleva- 
tion from about 20 m at Melbourne to 
about 200 m at the foot of Mt Sugarloaf 
(40 km northwest of Yellingbo), which is 
part of the well-defined escarpment at the 
southern edge of the higher Kinglake 
Plateau (McAndrew and Marsden 1973). It 
is also present further east in the Woori 
Yallock Basin. The Nillumbik Terrain has 
been dissected by the Yarra River and its 
tributaries and to a lesser extent by the 
Dandenong Creek. 


Bedrock comprises a thick sequence o\' 
folded Upper Ordovician to Middle 

Vol. 118(4)2001 



Devonian sediments ranging from mudstone 
to sandstone with mudstone dominant in the 
western part of the Shire of Yarra Ranges 
and sandstone in the east. The western and 
central parts of the Shire of Yarra Ranges 
are dominated by thick acid volcanics com- 
prising rhyolite and rhyodacke, and acid 
inlrusives comprising granite and granidior- 
ile of Middle to Late Devonian age (Cooney 
1979). Outcrops of Tertiary basalt are found 
in isolated patches between Lilydale and 
I loddles Creek. The basalt is usually highly 
weathered in outcrops although fresh materi- 
al up to 50 m thick has been recorded in drill 
holes (Cooney 1979). Thin Tertiary sedi- 
ments underlie the basalt in some places. 
Deposits of Quaternary alluvium and eollu- 
vium line major streams such as the Yarra 
River and the Woori Yallock, 01 in da, 
Cardinia and Dandenong Creeks. 

Remnants of erosion surfaces from the 
Cretaceous, Lower Tertiary and Middle 
Tertiary ages are present within the region, 
indicating that such locations have under- 
gone prolonged weathering. The many Hat 
ridges at elevations of about 250 to 350 m 
reflect the now dissected Nillumbik 
Terrain (LCC 1973). 

The majority of the YNCR lies on 
Quaternary alluvial deposits of gravel, 
sand and silt. Within the Woori Yallock 
Creek and Cockatoo Creek catchments, the 
dominant geologies are siltstones or" Lower 
Devonian origin to the north, and siltstones 
of Middle to Lower Silurian origin to the 
south. Upper Silurian sandstones and scat- 
tered caps of Tertiary volcanics are also 
present. Middle Devonian granidiorile is 
localized near the junction of the Woori 
Yallock and Cockatoo Creeks 
(Geographical Society of Victoria 1977, 
1981). The Macclesfield Creek catchment 
is more elevated than the Woori Yallock or 
Cockatoo Creek and the soils are indica- 
tive of leached duplex profiles derived 
from older (Devonian and Silurian rather 
than Quaternary) sediments. The flood- 
plains of the creek system are areas of gen- 
erally minor topographic variation (natural 
and otherwise) with the elevation ranging 
from 60 to 80 m above sea level. 


At higher altitudes in the Upper Yarra 
Valley, soils are generally brown, friable. 

and gradational. At lower aJlitudes friable 
reddish and yellowish gradational soils 
dominate, with some acidic duplex soils in 
the lower rainfall areas in the west, and 
shallow stony soils on the steep slopes. 
Loams, dark clays, and yellow duplex soils 
dominate the river plains (LCC 1973; 
Rowan 1988). 

Small areas of friable brown gradational 
soils are scattered throughout the 
Dandenong Ranges. Friable reddish grada- 
tional soils arc more widespread, particu- 
larly on outcrops of basalt and dacitc 
extending east to Gembrook, and have 
been largely cleared for agriculture. 
Shallow stony soils cover the steep slopes. 
In the lower-rainfall areas, acidic duplex 
soils, yellowish gradational soils and sodic 
duplex soils are all common (LCC 1973; 
Rowan 1988). 

The floodplain of the Woori Yallock 
Creek lies on a mosaic of poorly and rela- 
tively well drained soils of alluvial origin. 
The soils vary from brown silly clays at 
the surface (0-5 cm) to clay loams at depth 
(50-100 cm). Soils along the Cockatoo 
Creek range from grey to brown silty clay 
loams (0-5 cm) to sandy clay loams (50- 
100 cm) of colluvial or alluvial origin. 
Sites are seasonally waterlogged and dry 
over the summer months. Pale grey silty 
clays are found throughout the soil profile 
(0-100 cm) along the floodplain of the 
Macclesfield Creek. A detailed discussion 
of the physical and chemical properties of 
soils within the YNCR is given by Kasel 

I, and Use 

The human population within the Shire 
of Yarra Ranges has increased five-fold 
over the past 50 years with similar increas- 
es in the number of dwellings and a con- 
comitant decrease in the number of rural 
holdings (Table 3). 

Public land accounts for approximately 
73% of the Shire of Yarra Ranges and 
includes most of the water supply catch- 
ments (providing 75% of Melbourne's 
water supply) and forested areas close to 
Melbourne. The bulk of publicly owned 
land is located within the Upper Yarra 
Ranges. Private land used for rural activi- 
ties comprises approximately 24% of the 
total area within the Shire of Yarra Ranges 


The Victorian Naturalist 


Table 3. Historical changes 

in land use within the Sh 

re of Yar 

ra Ranges. 






29 707" 

55 530' 

148 927 h 





Number of dwellings 

1S58S 1 

30 680" 

49 583 d 





Number of rural holdings 

1 981° 



Total area of rural holdings 


SI 745' 

49 530* 

26 03 V 





Number of beef cattle 

12 682' 

39 905' 

25 W 3 

Number of pigs 

5 S65* 

1 1 52T 

13 395" 

Number of milk cattle 


9 796' 

2 530 B 

Number of sheep 

50 725 B 

1 067 J 

1 506 s 





Grape production (ha) 


4 15' 

1 300' 

!! Williams (1979); h Christoff and W 

shart (1994); l 

CBCS (1966); v1 ABS (1991); 

e CBCS (I960); 

ABS (1994); s ABS (1995); h Phillips etal. ( 1989); ' Business East (1997). 

and urban development accounts for a fur- 
ther 3% (Christoff and Wishart 1994). 

The wide range of rural activities within 
the Shire of Yarra Ranges reflects the 
region's climate, soil fertility, proximity to 
Melbourne and historical development o\~ 
farming. Agricultural and horticultural 
activities are discussed further as they rep- 
resent the most common forms of land use 
in areas directly adjacent to the YNCR. 


Some 9%, or 25 000 ha of the Shire of 
Yarra Ranges' total area is currently devot- 
ed to agricultural land use (ABS 1994). 
This represents approximately one third of 
the area of private land in the entire shire. 
More than half of this land (13 740 ha, 
including 2 460 ha of crops and 6 480 ha 
of pasture) is found near l.ilydale 
(Christoff and Wishart 1994). 

Pasture-based industries (dairy cattle, 
beef cattle, sheep and horses) dominate 
agricultural land use and dairy' farming has 
been the most intensive and profitable of 
these uses. Dairying is in serious decline; 
between 1959 and 1994, the number of 
milking cows fell by 90% (Table 3). Beef 
cattle production is now the dominant live- 
stock industry in the Shire of Yarra Ranges 
(Table 3) and has been stable during ihe 
last ten years (Christoff and Wishart 1994), 
Sheep fanning for both wool and meat is a 
minor and declining activity (Table 3) 
while equine industries (especially breed- 
ing for recreational use, harness racing and 
thoroughbred racing) is a large but gener- 
ally unquantified land use. 


Some 2 000 ha within the Shire of Yarra 
Ranges is devoted to horticultural activity. 
The major horticultural crops are nurserv 
plants, flowers, vegetables, fruit orchards, 
berry fruits and vineyards. 

Vegetable production is a significant but 
again a declining land use in the Shire o\' 
Yarra Ranges. Major vegetable growing 
areas are Silvan, Wandin, Toolangi, 
C o 1 d s t r e a m and H od dies Creek. 
Approximately 520 ha of vegetables are 
grown in the Shire. The largest crops are 
carrots (almost 300 ha), brussell sprouts, 
cabbages, potatoes and beans (Christoff 
and Wishart 1994). 

Over the past few years fruit production 
has remained stable. Crops include straw- 
berries, apples, cherries and other stone 
fruits such as peaches and nectarines. The 
wine industry is expanding and the total 
area of vineyards increased from 75 ha in 
1977, to over 1 300 ha by 1996 (Table 3). 

Land use surrounding the Yeilingho Stale 
( 'anscrvation Reserve 

Land uses directly adjacent to the YNCR 
boundary include intensive horticulture, 
cattle grazing and native forest. The inten- 
sive horticulture is in the form of a 'market 
garden' on the eastern bank of the 
Cockatoo Creek at the northern end of the 
YNCR. The market garden is approximate- 
ly 14 ha in area and the major crops grown 
include broccoli, cauliflower and spinach. 

The general changes in land use within 
the Shire of Yarra Ranges are reflected in 
changes in land use in areas bordering the 

Vol. 118(4)2001 



Table 4. Historical changes in 

land use 

surrounding the YNCR (based on 

the length (m) 

of each 

activity with the boundary' 1 of tl 



Surrounding land use 

Length of boundary 

with the YNCR 

Cockatoo Ck 

Woori Ya 

Hock Ck 










8 382 


7 308 


15 690 



1 3 224 


4 592 






1 -ore st 



3 422 


8 136 



16 892 


8 478 


25 370 





1 504 


2 878 


4 382 



1 8 836 


9 022 


27 858 



1 266 


1 266 




3 357 


2 878 


6 235 



16 983 


9 022 


26 005 


1 lorticulture 

1 266 


1 266 


Total boundary lengths 

21 606 

1 1 900 

33 506 

:| Changes in land use surrounding the YNCR were calculated with the use of the following aerial 
photographs: 1998 colour, 1:16 000; 1988 colour, 1:10 000; 1969 b/w 1:10 000; and 1946 b/w 
1 :20 0000. The length of the boundary of the YNCR was kept constant throughout the analysis and 
was based on the boundary as it stood in 1995 (the perimeter of the YNCR In 1995 was superim- 
posed on the corresponding area (images) for 1998, 1988, 1969 and 1946; the actual length of the 
perimeter changed over this time period as land was purchased and added to the YNCR). 

YNCR. There has been a marked decrease 
in the area of native forest and a corre- 
sponding increase in pasture based activi- 
ties and some intensive horticulture. For 
example, in 1946, native forest bordered 
about 16 km of the YNCR but only 4 km 
in 1988 (Table 4). Conversely the area of 
pasture bordering the YNCR increased 
from 18 km in 1946 to 28 km by 1988, 
with a farther 1 km allocated to horticul- 
ture (fable A). 

With no further land clearing between 
1988 and 1998, land uses surrounding the 
YNCR have remained fairly constant. 
Whilst keeping in mind the immature state 
Of rcvegetaled areas, land purchases and 
revegetation since 1988 have increased the 
'forested 1 area surrounding the YNCR, For 
example, purchase and revegetation of 
'Logan's land' (which was predominantly 
cleared, see Fig, 2) has increased the 
amount of forested area bordering the 
YNCR by 1 853 m (Table 4). Further 
revegetation and land purchases will 
increase this figure. 


This paper was llnaneially and logislically sup- 
ported by: The llolsworth Wildlife Research 
fund; Melbourne Water; Department of Natural 
Resources and Environment; Land and Water 
Australia; River Basin Management Society; 

School of Botany at Melbourne University; and 
the School of Botany at the University of 
Western Australia. I thank an anonymous 
reviewer for valuable comments on an earlier 
version of this paper. 


ABS (1991). "Census. Census counts Tor small areas 
Victoria. Census of population and housing'. 
Catalogue No. 2730.2. (Australian Bureau o\ 
Statistics: Victoria.) 

ABS (1994). "Agricultural statistics-selected small area 
data, Victoria, 1992-9.V. Catalogue No. 7120.2. 
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ABS (1995). 'Agricultural slalisiies-selected small area 
data Victoria 1992-1993". Catalogue No. 7120.2. 
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Backhouse, G.N. (1987). Management of remnant 
habitat for conservation of the llelmeted I (oncyeater 
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tion". ( I ■: d s D.A. Saunders. (i.W. Arnold, A. A. 
Burbidge and A.J.M. Hopkins.) pp. 287-294. (Surrey 
Ikaltv and Sons Pty Limited in association with 
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the director of Meteorology: Melbourne, August 

Bureau of Meteorology. (1983a), 'Monthly weather 
review-Victoria. February 1983'. (Department of 
Science and Technology: Melbourne.) 

Bureau of Meteorology (]983b). 'Preliminary report ol 
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(Bureau of Meteorology, Department of Science and 
Technology: Canberra ,j 

Business Past (1997). 'A grape investment'. (Business 
I ast; Miteham, Victoria.) 


The Victorian Naturalist 


Can*, G.W. (1998). Brief investigation! of Eucalyptus 
camphor a (Mountain Swamp Gum) dieback, 
Yellingbo Nature Conservation Reserve. A report to 
Department of Natural Resources and Environment. 
Draft Report, July 1998. (Ecology Australia Pty. 
Ltd.: Fairfield, Victoria.) 

Carroll. B. (1988). 'The Upper Yarra: an illustrated his- 
tory'. (Shire of Upper Yarra: Yarra Junction. 

CBCS (I960), "Rural holdings classified by type of 
activity'. Catalogue No. 7171.2. (Commonwealth 
Bureau of Census and Slatislics: Victoria.) 

CBCS (1966). 'Census of population and housing. 
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of Census and Statistics: Canberra.) 

Christidis. L. and Boles. W. (1994). 'The Taxonomy 
and Species of Birds of Australia and its Territories'. 
Monograph 2 (RAOU: Australia.) 

Christoff, P. and Wish&Ft, F. (I'->94|. Upper Yarra 
Valley and Dandenong Ranges Region. Biodiversity 
Study. Discussion Paper. June 1994. (Upper Yarra 
Valley and Dandenong Ranges Authority : 

Cooney. A.M. ( 1979). 'Geology. Mining and 
Quarrying Activity, Groundwater and Engineering 
Geology". (Upper Yarra Valley and Dandenong 
Ranges Authority: Melbourne.) 

Coulson, H. (19?9>. -Stop, of the Dandenongs. 1839- 
I95S". (Cheshire: Melbourne.) 

Craigie. NAT. Brizga. SO. ajtd Condina. P. (1998). 
Assessment of proposed works to ameliorate the 
effect oi hydro logical processes on vegetation 
diebaek at Cockatoo Creek Swamp. Yellingbo 
Reserve. A report prepared for Parks Victoria. July 
I99S. (Neil M. Craigie Pty. Ltd.: Croydon, 

Curtis. C. (1982), A historical survey of Yellingbo. 
(Ministry of Conservation, Fisheries and Wildlife 
Division: Yellingbo State Nature Reserve, 
Yellingbo | 

Fleet. J. (1970). ' I he history of gold discovery in 
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Geographical Soeietv of Victoria ( 1977k Warburton, 
1:250 000, Sheet 'sj 55-6. (Geological Surve> of 
Victoria: Australia.) 

Geographical Society of Victoria (1981). Ringwood. 
I :63 360, (Geological Survey of Victoria; Australia.) 

K ..:i i 1999). The decline of Eucalyptus camphora and 
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Western Australia.) 

LCC (1973). Report on the Melbourne Study Area. 
December I97.U (I. and Conservation Council: 
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LCC (1991). Melbourne Area, District 2 Re\iew. 
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Marriott, K.L. (1975). The Yarra Valley'. (Sorrcit 
Publishing: Melbourne,) 

Massola, A. (1975). 'Coranderrk: a history of the 
Aboriginal station 1 . (Lowdcn Publishing: Kilmore, 

McAndrew, .1. and Marsden, M.A.H. (eds) (1973). 
'Regional Guide to Victorian Geology". (School of 
Geology, University of Melbourne: Melbourne.) 

Mcllugh, P.J. (1991). 'Statement of resources, uses and 
values for the Dandenong forest management area 
(Yarra forests)'. (Department of Conservation and 
Environment: East Melbourne.) 

McMahon. A.R.G, and Eranklin. D.C. ( 1995). The sig- 
nificance of Mountain Swamp Gum for Helmeted 
Honeyeater populations in the Yarra Valley. The 
Victorian Naturalist 110, 250-237. 

McMahon, A.R.G.. Carr. (, \\ .. Race, G.J.. Bedggood, 
S.E. and Todd, J. A. (1991 ). The vegetation and man- 
agement of the Yellingbo Stale Nature Reserve With 
particular reference to the Helmeted Honeyeater 
(Ijchenostoimts nwhmops casstdix). November 1991. 
(Ecological Horticulture Pty Ltd: Clifton Hill, 

Miller, J. and Buckland, I, (1992). Not just for toda) 
the Yellow Helmeted Honeyeater and its habitat'.' 
(Miller and Buckland: Yellingbo, Melbourne.) 

Phillips, R.N. and Associates Vty. Ltd., Gittins. W.J. 
and Associates and Williamson, D. (1989). Rural 
Study. Technical Report Series Report No. 15. 
(Upper Yarra Valley and Dandenong Ranges 
Authority: Victoria,) 

Ross. J.H. (1996). 'A census ot the vascular plants of 
Victoria', (Royal Botanic Gardens: South Yarra. 
Victoria, Australia,) 

Rowan, J. (198X), 'I and Systems Of Victoria*. 
(Victorian Government Printer: Victoria-) 

Smales, I. J.. Craie. S.A., Williams. G.A. and Dunn, 
R.W, (1990), the Helmeted Honeyeater: decline, 
conservation and recent initiatives for recovery. In 
'Management and cOIlBervatJOO of' small popula- 
tions'. Proceedings o\ a conference held in 
Melbourne, Australia. September 26-27, I9S9. (lids 
r.W. Clark, and J, IE Seebcck.) pp. 225-238. 
(Chicago Zoological Society: Chicago.) 

Smyth, R.B (1878). "The Aborigines of Victoria'. 
Volume 1, (GovernmenJ Printer: Melbourne.) 

lanslcy, M, (1978), Sites, structures and areas of his- 
torical and archaeological significance. (Unpublished 
Research report - planning. Bachelor of Town and 
Regional Planning. University of Melbourne ) 

Williams. .1.11, (1979), 'Regional Statistics. Compiled 
in preparation of Regional Strategy Plan. Revised 
Edition 1 . (Upper Yarra and Dandenong Ranges 
Authority: Melbourne) 

The Victorian Naturalist 

All material for publication to: 

The Editor, 

The Victorian Naturalist, 

Locked Bag 3, 
P.O. Blackburn, 
Victoria 3 1 30. 

Vol. 118(4)2001 



David Ash ton, oam 

Dr. David Ashton was awarded a medal 
of the Order of Australia in the recent 
Queen's Birthday Honours. He is an emi- 
nent botanist known to many Field 
Naturalists, and has contributed enormous- 
ly to the understanding and appreciation of 
Victorian ecology. He studied at 
Cambridge with Dr. Alex Watt as supervi- 
sor and continued for an additional year 
with a Nuffield grant. In recognition of his 
astounding record of 50 years' research in 


the 'Big Ash' (Eucalyptus regnarts) of 
Victorian mountain forests, Parks Victoria 
prepared and erected a beautiful bronze 
plaque at the Toorourong Reservoir. David 
has a rare ability of evaluating the forest as 
a whole, but still including all its detailed 
living processes from which the reader can 
visualise the living forest. David's research 
covers many other areas of Victorian forest 
such as the Brisbane Ranges, the Bogong 
High Plains, East Gippsland, Macquarie 
Island, Pelican Island in Western Port Bay, 
and overseas in Chile. His research extends 
from mycorrhizae to lyrebirds. 

Some years ago David was made a 
Fellow of the Royal Society, and he 
recently received the Kookaburra award by 
Parks Victoria and a medal from the 
Ecological Society of Australia. The 
Department of Natural Resources and 
Environment has just named a biodiversity 
award after him. David has just completed 
an article on the history of the McCoy 
Society for The Victorian Naturalist. 

Quiet, unassuming, friendly, and with a 
wicked sense of humour, David is also a 
talented artist. Congratulations, David, 
from the Field Naturalists Club of Victoria. 

Gretna Westc 

605 Park Road, 
Park Orchards. Victoria 3114. 

One Hundred Years Ago 

RiN(, Island. — In the agricultural columns of the Australasian, of 27th July, "Brum" 
writes that King Island, hitherto regarded as useless has. owing to the spread of an 
introduced plant, become valuable for dairy farming. When the members of the Field 
Naturalists 1 Club of Victoria held their first extended "camp-out" there, in 1887 
{Victorian Naturalist, iv., p. 129), the country was reported as being sandy, sterile, and 
unsuitable for grazing, but it seems that since that time some seeds of a clover-like 
plant, Melilotus officinalis, were washed ashore from a wreck on the southern coast, 
and, contrary to the usual custom of introduced plants, has transformed the barren 
wastes into splendid pasture. The island now supports a population of about 250, and 
boasts a general store with post-office, while a creamery is talked of. but no school, 
church, or hotel has yet been established. The official requirements of the island are 
supplied by a police trooper. In the following issue of the Australasian, Mr. Frank 
Madden, M.L.A., writes warning farmers in Victoria against trying the Melilot as a 
pasture plant, as it is nothing more than a useless weed. It is, however, according to 
Baron von Mueller, "Select Extra-Tropical Plants," a valuable honey-yielding plant? 

From The Victorian Naturalist Vol. XVIII, 1901. 


The Victorian Naturalist 


W. Rodger Elliot, am 

Rodger Elliot and his wife Gwen Elliot 
were each recenty appointed as a Member 
in the General Division of the Order of 
Australia (am) 'for service to the horticul- 
ture of native plants, particularly through 
the Society for Growing Australian Plants'. 

Rodger was a member of the FNCV in 
the 1970s and early 1980s and rejoined 
Club in 1995, when he was awarded the 
Australian Natural History Medallion. He 
is currently a member of the Board of the 
Royal Botanic Gardens, an Honorary Life 
Member of the Australian Plants Society, a 
member of the Dandenong Ranges Garden 
Trust, and Deputy Chair of the Advisory 
Committee of the Maud Gibson Trust. He 
is a recipient of the Australian Institute of 
Horticulture's Award for Excellence and 
the Gold Veitch Memorial Medal. 

Rodger is no doubt well-known to manv 
members as a lecturer, broadcaster and 
author. He was a contributor to Your 
Garden magazine for over 20 years, has 
published plant Held guides, botanical 
booklets and a number of gardening books. 
I lis major work-in-progress, co-authored 
with David L. Jones, is the 'Encyclopedia 
of Australian p I ants Suitable for 
Cultivation'., This unique series, when 

completed, will cover the flora of the 
entire continent. 

Gwen Elliot has been invaluable in all of 
Rodger's endeavours, which are listed in 
detail in an article by Sheila Houghton in 
The Victorian Naturalist 112 (5), 1995, pp. 

Congratulations Rodger and Gwen from 
the Field Naturalists Club of Victoria. 

Rodger and Gwen Elliot. 

The Victorian Field Naturalists Clubs Association 
Annual Camp 

Labour Day Weekend - Friday 8 to Monday 1 1 March 2002 

The 2002 annual camp and meeting of The Victorian field Naturalists Clubs 
Association will take place at Campaspe Downs Country Resort, 7 km SW o\' 
K\ neton, Victoria over the Labour Day weekend. As the field Naturalists Club of 
Victoria is organising the event, we are hoping for the support of our members 
through their attendance and as volunteers for various tasks before and during the 
campout. Mark this date in your diary and come and enjoy guided excursions and 
walks through Victoria's Box and Ironbark forest remnants and surrounding areas. 
Learn about the plants, birds, mammals, invertebrates, fungi, geology and much, much 
more with Held naturalist colleagues from around the Stale. 

Guest speakers during the weekend are l)r Julian Hollis on volcanic activity in 
Victoria with emphasis on the Newer Volcanics, Stuart Dashper on Box-Iron forests 
and Marcus Ward on Logging in Wombat State Forest. 

If vou would like information and a booking form, please write to Dorothy Mahler, 
Secretary, VINCA Camp Weekend Organising Committee, 1 Astley Street, 
Montmorency 3094 and enclose a business-sized (approximately 22 * 10 em) stamped, 
self-addressed envelope. A deposit of $30 is required by 19 November, 2001. 

Vol. 118(4)2001 


Book Reviews 

Nature Photography 

by Ken Griffiths 

Publisher: University of New South Wales Press, 1999. 148 pp.. colour illustrations. 
ISBN 0868406 724. RRP $29. 95. 

As a keen amateur photographer 1 tackled 
this book with some enthusiasm. I was not 
disappointed. Nor was John (obsessive 
videographer and long-suffering husband) 
as we both found this book informative, 
interesting, detailed and loaded with plenty 
of advice and examples of what to do and 
not to do when photographing nature. 

The book is divided into two sections; 
Part I, Equipment and Accessories, delves 
into the camera and the main format types 
of SLR, rangefinder, medium and large 
format and digital. But the book is about 
SLR photography and discusses camera 
features, lenses. Hash, light meters, film, 
accessories, equipment care and mainte- 
nance, even what to look for when buying 
used equipment. 

Photos are used as examples in how to 
use equipment, e.g. lenses illustrated with a 
collection of landscapes taken with a wide- 
angle lens and wider apertures. All pictures 
are captioned with notes describing the 
photo, type of lens used and aperture, shut- 
ter speed and type of film. Telephoto and 
macro, lens and Hash features are all pre- 
sented in easily-digested form and accom- 
panying photos add detail to the text, illus- 
trating, for example, types of flash equip- 
ment available and when to use each one. 

Throughout the book key words are light- 
ly highlighted in the text. A quick referral 
to the index of cross-referenced topics will 
lead to the page number where the high- 
lighted topic is dealt with in detail. 

Part 2 deals with 'Photographing Natural 
Subjects' under the headings of Natural 
Light; Macro and Close-up Photography; 
Picture Faults and Technical Problems; 
Where to Practice your Techniques; Plants 
and Animals Exposed; What to Wear and 
Carry; and Ethics when Photographing 

1 found Part 2 particularly useful, and 
armed with all the knowledge acquired in 
Part 1 applied some of the tips during our 
recent trip into Western Australia. Tips for 
photographing in brightly lit situations like 
white sand so as not to under-expose (Eyre 
Telegraph Station), taking photos of back 
lit subjects (Marble Gums and their white 
trunks are illuminated by back lighting in 
the Great Victoria Desert), using macro 
lenses (the detail of an Ooldea Mallee in 
flower in the Great Victoria Desert or a 
Rhinoceros Beetle on the attack on the 
road between Rawlinna and Cocklebiddy) 
are all covered within. 

The section 'Plants and Animals 
Exposed' is a handy guide with advice on 
photographing all creatures great and small 
from invertebrates to landscapes and 
includes useful techniques, recommended 
lenses for each subject, when and how to 
improve your photo with the use of flash, 
when to use fast or slow shutter speed and 
open or closed aperture. 

The book closes with some useful tips 
and a list of essential items required for a 
day's filming and a final emphasis on the 
three Ps of nature photography - practice, 
patience and perseverance. So it's back out 
to the bush for me, my camera and lenses 
in a purpose designed backpack and a 
healthy dose of the 3 Ps. 

This book can be used by beginning SLR 
photographers who will learn much from 
the advice and detail presented here. 
Experienced photographers will also find it 
useful to extend their knowledge and capa- 
bility in nature photography. 

Anne Morton 

10 Rupicola Court, 
Rowvillc, Victoria 317S. 


The Victorian Naturalist 

Book Re 


Wildflowers of Victoria 

by Margaret G. Corrick and Bruce A. Fuhrer 

Publisher: Bloomings Books. 256 pp., 840 colour plates. RRP $59.95 

This terrific book illustrates 840 native 
(lowering shrubs and herbs of Victoria, 
including 50 species endemic to Victoria. 
The plants are presented alphabetically by 
family, and a brief description of the dis- 
tinguishing characteristics of each family 
precedes the individual species description. 
A wide array of flowers is included from 
many different habitats. For example, in 
the Daisy family, the Asteraceae, there are 
128 photographs including Xficroseris 
sp. 2, which is common in alpine herb- 
fields, Leueoehrysuni albicans subsp., 
Alpinum \ ar. tricolor, currently known 
onl\ from road verges, Water Buttons 
Cotula coronopifolia, widespread in damp 
areas and Sticky Cassinia. Cassinia 
uncata, which occurs mostly in western 
malice and dty forest although a distinctive 
form occurs on shallow, rocky ground in 
the alps and subaips north of Licola. This 
family also includes the strange and 
bizarre such as Ground Heads Chthono- 
cephalus pseudevas and Woolly Heads 
Myrioccphalus rhizocephalus. 

The species descriptions include the 
author, the common name where available, 
distribution and a few habitat notes. 
Included are measurements of leaves. 
fruits and (lowers, to aid identification, 
along with plant height. The distribution 
information is provided according to the 
natural regions of Victoria, and these are 
illustrated on a map taken from The Flora 
of Australia (1994-1999). The introduction 
includes a brief description of the natural 
regions of Victoria, with reference It) 
where they are situated within the state. A 
useful addition, however, would be the 
inclusion of flowering dates, such informa- 

tion being particularly valuable for people 
seeking rarely seen flowering plants such 
as Silvery Emu-Bush Eremophila scoparia 
or Fairy Lanterns Thismia rotrwavL 

A glossary is provided and includes 
detailed descriptions of many technical 
terms, making the species summaries easi- 
er to understand. 

'Wildflowers of Victoria' has such an 
extensive coverage of flowering shrubs 
and herbs of Victoria that it makes an ideal 
companion to Leon Costermarfs 'Trees 
and Shrubs of South Eastern Australia', 
Costerman's book includes coverage of 
shrubs which are generally taller than one 
metre, but a slight overlap does occur with 
a few speeies: Corrick and Fuhrer have 
included some small acacias, and a number 
of trees that display a shrubby growth 
form, such as Prickly Bottlebrush 
Callistemon brachyCtndrus described as a 
'shrub or small tree 2-3 metres high' and 
Muttcmwood Rapanea howittiana l a small 
tree to 15 metres high'. 

This book is packed full with beautiful 
colour photographs of the kind of excep- 
tional standard we have come to expect of 
Bruce Fuhrer's work, along with simply 
written, easj to read text. Overall, it is a 
very readable and informative, beautifully 
illustrated book. Marry species occur in 
other states as well so this book is ideal not 
only for Victorians but also for those iden- 
tifying plants in similar habitats within 
neighbouring states. 

Bernaclette Sinclair 

Deakin University, 

Rusden Campus, 

662 Blackburn Road, 

Clayton, Victoria 3168, 

For assistance with the preparation of this issue, thanks to Karen Dobson (label printing), 
Dorothy Mahler (administrative assistance) and Michael McBain (web page). 

Vol. 118(4)2001 


The Field Naturalists Club of Victoria Inc. 

Reg No A00336I IX ** 

Kstahlished 1880 

In which is incorporated the Microscopical Society of Victoria 

OBJECTIVES: To stimulate interest in natural history 
and to preserve and protect Australian flora and fauna. 

Membership is open to any person interested in natural history and includes 

beginners as well as experienced naturalists. 

Registered Office: FNCV, I Gardenia Street, Blackhurn, Victoria 3130, Australia. 

Postal Address; FNCV, I .oeked Bag 3, PO Blaekburn, Victoria 3 1 30, Australia. 

Phone/Fax (03)9877 9860; International Phone/Fax 61 3 9877 9860. 

John Landy, mhk, The Governor of Victoria 

Key Office- Bearers 

President', Vacant, 

Vice Presidents: I)k NOE! St in EIOER, I Astlcy Street, Montmorency 3094. 9435 B408 

and Ms Windy Clark, 97 Pakenham Street, Blackburn 3130. 9877 9266 
Hon. Secretary. Mrs Anni Morton, 10 Rupicola Court, Rowville 3178. 97900656 
Hon, Treasurer; Ms BARBARA Burns, 16 Montclair Court, Templestowe 3106. 9846 2608 
Subscription-Secretary: FNCV, Locked Bag 3, PO Blackburn 3130. 9877 9860 
Editor, The Vie, Ate/.: MRS Mlrii yn Gri y, 8 Martin Road, Glen Iris 3146. 9&S9 6223 
Assist Editors, The Vic, Nat,: Mr Ai is i air Lvans, 2/5 Glenbrook Avenue, Clayton 3168. 8505 4339 

and Mrs Anni Mint ion, as above. 
Librarian: Mrs Siii u A HOUGHTON, FNCV, Locked Bag 3, PO Blackburn 3130. All S428 4Q97 
Excursion Co-ord'tnator: Mr I)i nnis Mi i i/i r, 8 llarcourt Avenue, Cauficld 3162. 9523 1853 
Book Sales: l.)i< Ai an Parkin, FNCV, Locked Bag 3, PO Blackburn 3130. All 9435 5749 
Book Brokerage: Mr Ray Wiiiii,9 Longlown Court, Craigieburn 3064. All 9308 3770 
Newsletter Editors; DR Not i S< hi,i R, as above and Mr Ki iiii Marshall, 8/423 Tooronga Road, 

Hawthorn East3123.98S2 3044 
( 'onservaiion Coordinator, Mr Jim r, 167 Balaclava Road, Caulfickl 3 162. 9527 5601 

(■roup Secretaries 

Botany, Ms Karln Dobson»58 Rathmullen Road, Boronia 3155. hi i 9877 9860 
Geology: Mr Ron Hamson, 5 Foster Street, Mekinnon 3204. 95575215 
Eauna Survey: Ms Son 111 Smai l , 107 Bondi Road, Bonbeach 3 196. All 9772 2848 
Marine Research: Mr Mi< iiai i Lyons, 2/18 Stonnington Place, Toorak 3142. All 9822 8007 
Microscopical: Mr Ray Powtr, 36 SchoUers Road, Mernda 3754. 9717 351 1 


Members receive The Victorian Naturalist and the monthly T'ietd Nat News free. The Club organis- 
es several monthly meetings (free to all) and excursions (transport costs may be charged). Field 
work, including botany, mammal and invertebrate surveys, is being done at a number of locations 
in Victoria, and all members are encouraged to participate. 

yearly Subscription Rates— The Field Natu 

ralists Club 

of Victoria Inc. 

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from GPO) 


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Printed by Brown Prior Anderson, 5 Lvans Slreet, But wood, Victoria 3125. 


12 Ft 


Volume 118 (5) October 2001 

McCoy Special Issue Part One 

jZZ*^/ <ffr-**^ 

Published by The Field Naturalists Club of Victoria since 1884 


Doug McCaiin 

This special two-part issue of The 
Victorian Naturalist has been produced in 
honour of the life and work of the nineteenth 
century Irish-Australian naturalist Sir 
Frederick McCoy. He died just over 100 
years ago, on 13 May 1899, at about 77 years 
of age (his exact birth date remains uncer- 
tain). McCoy was the first President of The 
Field Naturalists Club of Victoria (1880- 
1883) and later, along with his renowned 
colleague Ferdinand von Mueller, was made 
a patron of the Club ( 1 889). Although he was 
not directly involved in regular meetings and 
field excursions, the Club gained prestige 
and direction from his stewardship and he 
provided a useful link between the Club's 
activities and that of the Melbourne Museum 
of which he was first Director. 

At the time of his death he was arguably 
Australia's most distinguished scientist. In 
an obituary in The Geological Magazine, 
the editor Henry Woodward stated that 
'Professor McCoy was the acknowledged 
chief of the scientific world of Australasia 1 
- yet today he is little known outside the 
specialised areas of palaeontology and the 
history of science. 

McCoy made significant contributions to 
taxonomic and stratigraphical palaeontol- 
ogy in Ireland and England, and to palaeon- 
tology and /oology in Australia. He was the 
first to confirm that Australian stratigraphy 
correlated with that in the northern hemi- 
sphere and hence to demonstrate that the 
geological column was a global phenome- 
non, lie was foundation Professor of 
Natural Science at the University of 
Melbourne and concurrently Government 
Palaeontologist for the Geological Survey 
of Victoria and Director of the National 
Museum of Victoria, where he built up one 
of the finest natural history collections out- 
side Europe and North America. 

Why then is McCoy so little appreciated? 
The reasons are complex and varied. 
McCoy was, and remains, a somewhat con- 
troversial and contradictory figure. As well 
as making many worthy contributions to 
science he was also involved in some acri- 
monious and long-running scientific dis- 
putes, and in some of these he fared rather 
badly. Authors in this issue explore aspects 
of Some of these debates. In a sense McCoy 

1 School of Ecology and Hnvironmenl. Deukin 
I Inivorsily. Kusricn Campus, Clayton. Victoria 3 168. 

has had to endure a 'bad press' in which his 
negative qualities have been emphasised 
(i.e., one historian referred to him as that 
'bad tempered redheaded Irishman') and his 
more positive contributions have frequently 
been ignored or forgotten. 

The breadth, and often the depth, of his 
work, however, were considerable. He was 
very much a product of the mid nineteenth 
century, when natural history enjoyed wide- 
spread popularity and standing. Taxonomy 
and classification were highly esteemed 
activities, in keeping with the then prevalent 
philosophy of Natural Theology. It was an 
era of geographical exploration and exten- 
sive collecting. There was much being dis- 
covered that was new to science and a need 
for it to be classified and described. McCoy 
was an accomplished naturalist and a very 
diligent taxonomic palaeontologist. Even in 
his day palaeontologists were beginning to 
specialise but the scope of McCoy's work 
was remarkable; he covered virtually the 
whole of invertebrate palaeontology as well 
as being competent in vertebrate palaeontol- 
ogy and zoology. He was also well versed in 
geology, botany, mineralogy, chemistry, 
mining technology and many of the arts. 

A reassessment of McCoy's life and work 
has been long overdue. The current collection 
of papers provides a variety of viewpoints 
and some general as well as some in-depth 
studies of many aspects of his life and work. 
This two-part issue of The Victorian 
Naturalist offers the first exhaustive critical 
study of McCoy and will provide an obligato- 
ry starting point for any future work on 
McCoy's scientific contributions and of his 
life and times. 

Many people have contributed towards the 
success of this project, in particular, the 
individual authors and the dedicated and 
patient work of the editors Merilyn Grey, 
Anne Morton and Alistair Evans. Special 
thanks are due to Professor Neil Archbold 
for proposing and nurturing this project 
from the very beginning, and for his written 
contributions and generous material support. 
The end result of the combined work of all 
the contributors is a landmark in document- 
ing, analysing and understanding a pioneer- 
ing period in the history of natural science in 
the Colony of Victoria and of the contribu- 
tions of Sir Frederick McCoy, an eminent 
nineteenth century Victorian naturalist, 



Volume 118(5)2001 
McCoy Special Issue Part One 


Editors: Merilyn Grey and Anne Morton 
Production Editor: Alistair Evans 

Foreword, by Doug McCann 146 

Timeline: Frederick McCoy, by Doug McCann 148 

Geological Time Scale 150 

Sir Frederick McCoy FRS -an Overview, by Malcolm Carkeek 151 

Frederick McCoy: the Irish Years, by Thomas A. Darragh 160 

Frederick McCoy and his Contributions to Stratigraphical Palaeontology, 

by Doug McCann 165 

Frederick McCoy and the Phylum Brachiopoda, by N.W. Archbold 178 

Frederick McCoy and the University of Melbourne, by Ian Wilkinson 186 

McCoy's 'Living Museum', by Gwen Pascoe 193 

Professor Frederick McCoy and the National Museum of Victoria, 
1856-1899, by Carolyn Rasmussen 200 

Birds, Books and Money: McCoy's Correspondence with John Gould 
(1857-1876), by Anthea Fleming 210 

McCoy and Clarke: their Dispute Over the Age of Australia's Black Coal, 

bv Roger Pier son , 219 

Frederick McCoy's Anti-evolutionism - the Cultural Context of Scientific 

Belief, by Barry W. Butcher 226 

McCoy and Sarcophilus harrisii Boitard, 1842 - a Diabolical Relationship, 

by W.R. Gerdtz 231 

Revisiting the Real McCoy, by N. W. Archbold 234 

Editors' Acknowledgements 159 

Editors' Notes 233 

ISSN 0042-5184 

Front cover: Lithograph of Frederick McCoy by Frederick Schoenfeldt; from a series enti- 
tled 'Notable Men of the time 1 . Published by Hamel and Co., c. 1859. Signed by Frederick 
McCoy. La Trobe Picture Collection, State Library of Victoria. 

Back cover: Frederick McCoy, c. early 1870s. UMA/I/1242 University of Melbourne 
Archives. . 

McCoy Issue 

Timeline: Frederick McCoy (1823-1899) 

Doug McCann 

c. 1823 Bom in Dublin (exact year of birth uncertain). Second son of Dr Simon McCoy, 
physician and professor of materia medica, Queen's College, Galway. 

1838 First paper published in Magazine of Natural History: Remarks on Mr. 
Eyton's arrangement of the Gulls. 

1839 Arranged the collections of the Museum of the Geological Society of Dublin 

and became a member of that Society. (The Catalogue of the Museum 
published 1841 - McCoy's first publication on fossils.) 

c. 1840 Engaged by Sir Richard Griffith to determine fossils collected by Griffith and 
the staff of the Boundary Survey for a Geological Map of Irela nd. 

1841 Named and catalogued for sale shells and fossils of the Henry Sirr Collection. 
Curatcd collections of the Royal Dublin Society and the Geological 
Society of Dublin. First met Adam Sedgwick. 

1 843 Married Anna Marie Harrison in Dublin . 

1844 Publication of Synopsis of the Carboniferous Limestone Fossils of Ireland 

(based on his work for Sir Richard Griffith). 

1845 Geological Survey of Ireland established. McCoy hired as first field staff 
member. Surveyed and completed maps. Resigned Septemb er 1846. 

1846 Publication of Synopsis of the Silurian Fossils of Ireland (based on his work 

for Sir Richard Griffith). In November invited by Adam Sedgwick to arrange 
the fossil collection of the Woodwardian Museum at Cambridge (worked on 
this project 1846-1854). 

1847 Publication of On the fossil botany and zoology of the rocks associated with 

the coal of Australia in Annals and Magazine of Natural History (based on 
examination of fossils collected by Rev. W.B. Clarke and sent to Sedgwick). 

1849 Appointed Professor of Mineralogy and Geology at Queen's College, Belfast. 
Continued work with Sedgwick during vacations. 

1852 Elected Fellow of the Geological Society of London. 

1854 Appointed Professor of Natural Science at the University of Melbourne 
(lifelong tenure). Publication of Contributions to British Palaeontology 

(reprint of 28 papers from Annals and Magazine of Natural History). Arrived 
in Victoria December 1 854. 

1855 Publication of Synopsis of the British Palaeozoic Rocks and Fossils 

(McCoy's major work). University of Melbourne officially opened. 
McCoy lectured in a wide range of subjects including chemistry, botany, 
mineralogy, comparative anatomy, systematic zoology, geology and 

148 The Victorian Naturalist 

Part Ota 

1856 Appointed Palaeontologist to the Geologieal Survey of Victoria. Moved 
National Museum of Victoria collection to University of Melbourne. 'System 
Garden' laid out in north-west corner of university grounds. Chairman of 

Royal Commission on the Victorian Goldfields. 

1858 Formally appointed Director of the National Museum. Appointed to Victorian 
Boa rd of Science. 

1861 Vice-President of the Royal Society of Victoria. Acclimatisation Society 
established - McCoy and Frederick von Mueller Vice-Presidents. Publication 
of Note on the ancient and recent natural history of Victoria 
in Catalogue of the Victorian Exhibition - the first general account o[' 
palaeontology and zoology in Victoria. 

864 President of the Royal Society of Victoria. 

1867 Publication of On the recent zoology and palaeontology of Victoria in 

Annals and Magazine of Natural History (included the first detailed list of 
Victorian birds). 

1869 Public lecture The order of creation. Began publication of a series of 

popular articles on Victorian and Australian natural history in the 
Australasian under the pseudonym 'Micro/oon' < from 1 869- 1 87 1 ). 

1870 Public lecture The plan of creation. Vice-President of the Royal Society of 


1 874 first part of Prodromus of the Palaeontology of Victoria published (work on 

it actually started in 1858; published serially; publication ceased with seventh 

decade 1882). 

1878 Publication of Prodromus of the Zoology of Victoria {in twenty parts with 
200 coloured plates; published serially 1878-1890). 

1879 Awarded Murchison Medal from Geological Society of London. 

880 Elected Fellow of the Royal Society of London. Invited to be First President of 
the Field Naturalists Club of Victoria {President for three years 1880-1883). 

1880s Many honours conferred upon him including a knighthood (KCMG) in 1891. 

and Now regarded by many as Australasia's most distinguished scientist. 

1890s llonourary member of many British and foreign learned societies. Royal 
honours from Italy and Austria. Received D.Sc. from Cambridge 1886 {one of 
the first granted). McCoy's health deteriorated in 1890s protracted bouts of 
br onchial illness. Wife died 1886, son died 1887, daughter died 1891. 

1X99 Died 13 May. Buried in the Brighton Cemetery, Melbourne. 

Vol. 118(5)2001 149 

McCoy Issue 

Geological Time Scale 






or Primary 




Mill yrs ago 








1 X 



Great variety of mammals 


Flowering plants. Ancestral 
dogs and bears 



Ancestral pigs and apes 



Ancestral horses, cattle, 




Extinction of dinosaurs and 
ammonifies. Mammals and 
flowering plants slowly appear 



Dinosaurcs and ammonites 
abundant. Birds and mammals 



Flying reptiles and dinosaurs 
appear. First modern corals 




Rise of reptiles and amphibians 
Conifers and beetles 


Coal forests (North Hem.) 
First reptiles and winged insects 


First amphibians and 
ammonities. Earliest trees 
and spiders. Rise of fishes 


First spore-bearing land plants 
Earliest known coral reefs 


First fish-like vertebrates. 
Trilobitcs and grapolites 


Abundant fossils first appear! 
(trilobites, graplolites, 
brachiopods, molluscs, crinoids, 
radiolaria and foraniinifera) 



Scanty remains of primitive 
invertebrates: sponges, worms 
algae, bacteria 



Rare algae and bacteria back 
to at least 3400 million years 

Geological strata classifications: (a) classification used in Britain in the 1820s (Secord, J A (1986) 
'Controversy in Victorian Geology: The Cambrian-Silurian Dispute', Princeton University Press- 
Princeton.) ; (b) current Australian classification (after Australian Geological Survey Organisation 



The Victorian Naturalist 

Part One 

Sir Frederick McCoy FRS - an Overview 

Malcolm Carkeek 1 

When Frederick McCoy arrived in 
Melbourne late in 1854 to take up the 
foundation chair of Natural Science in the 
University of Melbourne he was plain Mr 
McCoy, without tertiary qualifications or 
honours, but already a Fellow of the 
Geological Society, London. At his death 
in 1899 he was Professor Sir Frederick 
McCoy. Knight Commander of St Michael 
and St George - the first professor of an 
Australian university to be knighted; 
Fellow of the Royal Society; holder of the 
Geological Society's Murchison Medal; 
Doctor of Science honoris causa 
(Cambridge) - the first to receive this 
newly created honour; Honorary Member 
of the Cambridge Philosophical Society - 
limited to 30 British citizens, the cream of 
the Empire's scientists; Chevalier of the 
Royal Order of the Crown of Italy; recipi- 
ent of the Emperor of Austria's Great Gold 
Medal for Arts and Sciences, etc, etc, etc. 
Me still held his professorship and had 
been foundation Director of the National 
Museum of Victoria since 1857. The 
recognition and the honours were the result 
of four decades of relentless drive by 
McCoy to create a museum that fulfilled 
the public role he perceived for it. In the 
late nineteenth century the National 
Museum of Victoria was recognised inter- 
nationally as one of the world's great nat- 
ural history museums. This status was 
achieved almost entirely by the unremit- 
ting determination, vision and passion of 
one man, against an array of opposing 
forces that would have eventually ground 
down and crushed a man not so possessed. 
As with many who make their mark, 
McCoy was a man of great enabling tal- 
ents, dogged by a number of disabling 

In 1853. the newly established University 
of Melbourne was seeking to fill four 
chairs. One of a long and somewhat 
demanding list of criteria provided by the 
university to the selection panel in London 

IK Bunker Crescent. Glen Waverlcv, Victoria 

was that the professorial candidates had to 
be graduates of one of the major universi- 
ties of Great Britain. From a field of over 
ninety applicants, the panel, headed by Sir 
John Hcrschcl the noted astronomer, chose 
three graduates well-recognised in their 
discipline, and Frederick McCoy who, 
although he did not satisfy the degree crite- 
rion, was so outstanding in his field that he 
was selected notwithstanding. McCoy was 
not without academic recognition; he was 
at the time Professor of Geology and 
Mineralogy in Queen's College, Belfast 
and was recognised in Great Britain as one 
of its leading palaeontologists. How he 
reached this position by his early thirties is 
explained in Tom Darragh's meticulous 
contribution. Shortly before leaving for 
Australia, McCoy had published the defin- 
itive work on the Palaeozoic rocks and fos- 
sils of Great Britain and was in the lime- 
light in scientific circles for providing the 
palacontological evidence that was instru- 
mental in resolving the great Silurian. 
Cambrian controversy. This and McCoy's 
other contributions to stratigraphical 
palaeontology are covered in detail in 
Doug McCann's paper. 

As amply demonstrated in Ian Wilkinson's 
paper, McCoy did not make his mark as one 
of the University's really great teachers, par- 
ticularly in his later years. Considering 
everything else he was involved in, it is sur- 
prising that he ever got around to teaching at 
all. lie was constantly at loggerheads with 
the Building Committee, mostly in regard to 
the National Museum; indeed one could 
add: the Chancellor, the Vice-Chancellor, 
the Registrar, the Professorial Board and 
anyone else who sought to thwart him in 
anything that he considered to be for the 
well-being or advancement of any enterprise 
for which he was responsible or closely 

McCoy was a convergent thinker, saw 
things in black and white, was obsessive 
aboul detail and was unable lo appreciate 
that not everyone's thought processes are 
governed by logic, and hence he was often 

Vol. 118(5)2001 


McCoy Issue 

intolerant of other opinions. Basically, he 
was a fairly typical scientist. As Scott 
(1936) said of McCoy, 

His meticulousncss was often trying to the 
University Council, and there was rarely a 
meeting of that body at which "Letter from 
Professor McCoy' did not figure on the 
Agenda. Sometimes there were several let- 
ters from him, all pressing for something to 
be done. 
McCoy would present a cogently argued 
case in support of some demonstrably valu- 
able and justifiable plan, only to be 
knocked back with 'we can't afford it". To 
a man of science this was no answer at all 
and he would persist, sometimes for years, 
until he got what he wanted. 

Arguably, McCoy's major achievement 
for the University was the systematic 
Botanic Garden; and this is perhaps a good 
example of his relationship and interaction 
with others in the University community. 
From a faltering start in 1856, the garden 
grew under McCoy's watchful and caring 
eye through the sixties, the latter part of 
which were probably the peak of the gar- 
den's development and use, with two gar- 
deners, heated glasshouses and all totally 
under the control of its founder. The sev- 
enties brought much disputation about staff 
numbers, their salaries and funds for speci- 
mens and running expenses. Money was 
always in short supply and the garden suf- 
fered in consequence. McCoy's constant 
importuning on behalf of his beloved gar- 
den met with little positive response; 
rather, he was more likely to be told by the 
Building Committee 'The wants of the 
general grounds at present are more urgent 
than is the necessity for propagating exotic 
plants which require artificial heat 
approaching that of the tropics!'. McCoy 
cuttingly referred to the former as 'plea- 
sure gardens'. Finally, in 1880, the Council 
set up a committee to investigate the con- 
dition and management of the Botanic 
Ciarden. This committee recommended that 
the garden be removed from the control of 
McCoy and handed over to the Head 
Gardener - he of the ^pleasure gardens'. 
McCoy came out fighting, and replied that 
at the time of the inspection in Spring, the 
weeds were at their height and the one gar- 
dener was temporarily otherwise occupied; 
plants had died over the last twenty years 

and no money had been forthcoming to 
replace them, and at least the labels gave 
some indication as to what might have 
been there, had the garden been properly 
supported. Despite a strongly supported stu- 
dent petition to the Council calling on it to 
not remove McCoy from his curatorial role. 
control of the Botanic Garden passed to the 
Head Gardener, a man with whom McCoy- 
had often clashed. The garden was allowed 
to deteriorate and its value as a teaching 
adjunct greatly diminished until it was 
eventually subsumed in the general gardens. 
Fighting against parsimony and disinterest. 
McCoy held the garden together for nearly 
25 years, but lost in the end. Gwcn Pascoe's 
paper describes the establishment and lay- 
out of the garden, and expands on McCoy's 
problems in managing it. 

It was the Surveyor General, Captain 
Andrew Clarke RE, who first recognised 
the value, and was the driving force behind 
the establishment, of a public museum for 
the education and instruction of Victorians. 
Clarke had been Secretary to Governor 
Denison in Tasmania when a public muse- 
um was set up there under the aegis of the 
Royal Society of Van Dicman's Land. 
Clarke took up his duties in Victoria in 
May 1853, and in the following September 
the Legislative Council voted 36 to 7 that 
the estimates of the following year include 
a sum for the establishment of a Museum 
of Natural History. The 1854 Budget 
included a sum of L2.000 towards the 
establishment of such a museum, and a 
similar sum for a Museum of Economic 
Geology, Both were placed under the con- 
trol of Clarke, and he found two rooms 
above the Assay Office to house them. The 
collection grew rapidly under the curator- 
ship of the Government Zoologist, William 
Blandowski. But, between mid- 1 855 and 
the end of 1856, the whole collection was 
transferred to the University and placed in 
the care of Professor McCoy. At the time 
there was much opposition, much confu- 
sion and not a little dissembling regarding 
this operation. Some source material from 
the period has been influential in the paint- 
ing of an unfair image of McCoy in more 
recent limes. 

In Redmond Barn\ Ann Galbally (1995), 
in referring to the movement of the nation- 
al collection to the University, states, 


The Victorian Naturalist 

Part One 

'McCoy saw his chance, and in another 
example oflrish energy organised to "bor- 
row" the collections for an exhibition at 
the University. They were never returned 
in his lifetime/ She later claims that Barry 
'decided not to oppose McCoy's comman- 
deering of the Museum of Natural 
History'. Ann Moyal (1986), a respected 
historian of Australian science, says of this 

... at Melbourne University ... McCoy built 
up an impressive economic and mining 
museum which attracted great attention 
from the public. Fired by this success, and 
already negotiating with the governor of 
Victoria on the housing of the national col- 
lection, McCoy, m the summer of 1856. 
unceremoniously carried off the natural histo- 
ry collection, despite protests from the 
Philosophical Society. 
She calls this 'an act of brigandage'. 
McCoy himself best answers these charges 
in a letter dated 28 June 1856 to Redmond 
Barry* in his capacity as Chancellor of the 
University. It is a key document and worth 
quoting extensively. 

About a year ago His Excellency Sir 
Charles Hotham having determined to omit 
the Colonial Natural History grants from 
the estimates and an announcement having 
appeared in the papers that the Survey 
Museum was to be broken up, I waited 
upon the authorities and ha\ ing represented 
the advantages to the community of contin- 
uing ihc collections and ascertaining exactly 
what natural objects were to be found in the 
Colony. I suggested that the economic diffi- 
culties in the way (such as the necessity for 
building a separate museum, purchasing the 
large number of cases required, paying 
attendants, etc) might be obviated by plac- 
ing the collections in the charge of the 
University; where also the necessary scien- 
tific books and specimens of other countries 
for comparison would be at hand to facili- 
tate the classification of the specimens, and 
where they could be safely deposited. 
arranged and be freely open to the public. 
The Colonial Secretary thereupon forward- 
ed at His Excellency's desire the letter 
dated 10th July 1855 enclosing a memoran- 
dum, dated 29lh June 1855. of my proposi- 
tion and desiring the opinion of the Council 
of the University thereon. 

To this the Council replied by letter dated 
Sept. 15th. expressing their willingness to 
take charge of these collections, but a para- 
graph having been introduced to the effect 
that money should first be furnished to 
build a Museum for them. His Excellency 
was obliged to reply, by a letter dated Sept. 
25, that he could not sanction the arrange- 
ment on such terms till the money was 
voted by the Legislature. Immediately how- 
ever on the Council writing, by letter dated 
Oct. 2nd, that they would unconditionally 
accept the custody of the collection. His 
Excellency forwarded to them a Letter of 
thanks, dated Oct. 16th and promising to 
communicate directly on the Surveyor 
General's return. 

Accordingly, on the arrival of the Surveyor 
General that officer came to the University 
to ascertain what means we had for carrying 
out the arrangement; and, having carefully 
inspected the rooms which we then had 
ready for temporary accommodation, and 
examined the plans and drawings of the 
Museum we then proposed to build, with 
the necessary fittings, glass cases etc. he 
expressed himself perfectly satisfied and 
gave me a definite promise that he would 
order the collections to be sent up at once. 
Finally, when another member of the 
Executive (the Honorable the Commis- 
sioner of Trade & Customs) asked the 
Legislative Council to agree to the vote for 
building the north side of the University he 
distinctly announced that the Colonial 
Natural History Collection had been trans- 
ferred to the University and that this small 
vote would save the country the great 
expense of providing separate accommoda- 
tion for them. 

The Botanical specimens have been partial- 
ly delivered and the whole of the 
Geological collection made by Mr. Selvvyn 
have arrived and arc rapidly being classified 
and made useful at the Department ... 
I have read each of the documents to 
which McCoy refers, and they all agree 
with what he says. This was not a brigand 
commandeering that to which he had no 
right, but rather the orderly transfer of the 
collection, as agreed and arranged between 
the Government and the Council of the 
University. When the transfer of the 
national collection from the Assay Office 
to the University was well under way, the 

Vol. 118(5)2001 


McCoy Issue 

dealh of Governor Holham and the instal- 
lation of a more sympathetic, if temporary, 
ear in the form of Major General 
Macarthur gave the Philosophical Institute 
the opportunity to perhaps reverse the 
decision with which il strongly disagreed. 
It petitioned the Acting Governor to relo- 
cate the national collection in the Public 
Library basement, prompting the Colonial 
Secretary to ask the University if it was 
prepared to continue to be responsible for 
the national collection and the Trustees of 
the Public Library if they were prepared to 
assume responsibility for it. On behalf of 
the University, the ubiquitous Redmond 
Barry replied. Yes; and on behalf of the 
Trustees, he replied, No. On hearing this, 
the Philosophical Institute organised a pub- 
lie protest meeting on 26 July 1856 recall 
that McCoy's letter was dated 28 June. Not 
surprisingly, those who were moved to 
attend voted overwhelmingly to have the 
National Museum in the city. When the 
next shipment of specimens from the 
Assay Office to the University happened a 
few days later, the Philosophical Institute 
and the press had a field day accusing 
McCoy of all sorts of malfeasance. The 
Argus fulminated and Melbourne Punch 
lampooned him in cartoon and doggerel; 
and writers have been perpetuating this 
myth ever since. 

The establishment of the museum in the 
University gave McCoy the opportunity to 
once again do what his previous activities 
showed he most enjoyed; building up and 
directing a natural history museum - and 
this he set about doing with considerable 
skill zeal and tenacity. Soon some funds 
were forthcoming from the Government 
and additional space added to the 
University buildings to house the National 
Museum. Over the next six years McCoy 
avidly acquired specimens from both the 
collectings of the ongoing Geological 
Survey of Victoria and through overseas 
agents, but only 'those of the highest quali- 
ty'. Anthea Fleming's paper on McCoy's 
correspondence with John Gould relating 
to the acquisition of bird collections for the 
museum clearly illustrates the problems 
McCoy had in financing acquisitions in 
general and the extent to which he was 
prepared to circumvent normal fiscal 
restraints to advance his beloved museum. 

McCoy soon ran out of display and storage 
space in the museum and again appealed to 
the Government, who after negotiations 
with the University Council built one half 
of a planned National Museum building 
within the University grounds, it was never 
to be completed. The development of the 
museum under McCoy's leadership is 
explored and detailed in Carolyn 
Rasmusseivs paper. 

The University had initially welcomed 
the housing of the national collection on its 
campus, albeit on a temporary basis, and 
the Council gave unanimous approval for 
its extension. By 1865 the University's 
attitude to hosting the National Museum 
had changed considerably; il saw this 
nestling as a rapidly growing cuckoo 
threatening its own fledgling museum. 
From time to time McCoy was required to 
list recent acquisitions of the University 
Museum. As the University was always 
running on a reduced budget, little money 
was made available to McCoy to purchase 
specimens, hence the collection grew 
slowly and mostly by donations. McCoy 
had a somewhat perverse sense of humour; 
on one occasion he reported, po-faced, that 
there had been few additions during the 
year, with the chief of these being: 

• A bottle of slugs, supposed to have been 
vomited up by a man (donated by the 

• A bottle of water from Tarrangower (also 
donated by the Vice-Chancellor); 

• Three birds' nests and the beak of an 

• A piece of wood from the Holy Land; 

• A small crawfish from the Yarra; 

• A small box of insects; 

• Three bones {unidentified). 

In 1869 the government placed the Public 
Library, the Museums and the National 
Gallery under the control of a board of 
trustees. McCoy, who had held his direc- 
torship of the Museum through his position 
of State Palaeontologist and was thus 
answerable only to the Chief Secretary, 
now had 15 'masters', including Redmond 
Barry who was the Board's first President. 
As well as a wig, Barry wore other hats: in 
regard to the National Museum he was 
positioned uneasily between being 
President of the Trustees vested with its 
control and Chancellor of the University. 


The Victorian Naturalist 

Part ()m 

He and McCoy were often in conflict over 
the Museum. In 1856, Barry the Chancel- 
lor was interested in acquiring the Museum 
for the University, while Barry the 
Museum Trustee wanted the available 
space in the Public Library building for an 
Art Gallery. As time went on and more 
space became available at the Public- 
Library . Chancellor Barry, perhaps weary 
of his regular confrontations with McCoy, 
yielded to Trustee Barry and pressed for a 
relocation of the Museum. For reasons yet 
to be established, Barry, the mover and 
shaker, was not wholly successful. The 
Trustees wished to have the whole of the 
Museum moved to the Library site, but the 
Act incorporating the Library, Gallery and 
Museums specifically forbad the removal 
of the Natural History Museum from the 
University: so they appointed a Sectional 
Committee to control the operation of the 
Museum and its Director. The general atti- 
tude of the Trustees may be gauged from 
the fact that none on this committee had 
any background in science. The committee 
lost no time in putting its stamp on the 
Museum. Declaring its intention that the 
National Museum should be v a collection 
illustrative of Zoology and Palaeontology' 
it ordered that the mineralogy collection 
and the mining and agricultural models 
that McCoy had so assiduously collected 
from Europe were to be removed to the 
new Science and Technology Museum, sit- 
uated in the Public Library building, and 
under the control of another curator. 
McCoy fought vigorously but in vain, 
because the Government sanctioned the 
move. Ostensibly, the action was to relieve 
the overcrowding at the National Museum 
and make the models more readily avail- 
able to the public, but the setting of the 
battle lines on who was master and who 
servant must have also played a part. In 
1870, the Committee paid tribute in its first 
annual report to 'the zeal and perseverance 
of the learned Director. Professor McCoy.' 
In 1876, they observed pompously 'The 
general conduct of the Museum has during 
the year met with the approval of the 

As explained in Doug McCann's stratig- 
raphy paper, McCoy was at home in the 
laboratory and the office rather than as a 
collector in the field, and it was there, as 

Director of the Museum and State 
Palaeontologist, that he made his major 
contribution. Many of the local specimens 
collected by the Geological Survey and 
amateur collectors were identified and 
named by McCoy similar to the work he 
had done with the Woodvvardian collection 
at Cambridge University. While his work 
ranged widely, the following papers high- 
light some of the areas in which he con- 
tributed significantly: John Scebeck and 
Robert Warneke, 'McCoy's Mammals'; 
Alan Yen et ai, ' Prod ramus ofZ0ology*\ 
Philip Bock, "Bryozoa"; Noel Schleiger, 
'Graptolites"; Leigh Ahern. V A Bite from 
the Past'; Neil Archbold, 'Brachiopods 1 ; 
Mark Warne. "Bairdia'; Adrian Hell, 
Mchthyosaur'; and Bernard Mace. 

As you read the annual reports of the 
Museum Committee with their Appendix 
A Director's Report, between the years 
1870 and 1X99, the profile of a resolutely 
determined man of indomitable spirit 
emerges. Year after year for 29 years 
McCoy reported that there was a desperate 
shortage of public and operational space in 
the museum that caused such overcrowd- 
ing as to make viewing of the exhibits dif- 
ficult, but the number of visitors continued 
to increase, as did the number of speci- 
mens received, prepared, identified, cata- 
logued and arranged. Each year there was 
an ever-optimistic appeal for capital funds 
to complete the other half of the Museum 
building. This plea was invariably matched 
by that of the Committee, but they sought 
funds to relocate the Museum to an extend- 
ed Public Library site. Finally, in 1876 the 
Government placed upon the vote for 
Public Works, £2,000 for "... additions to 
the National Museum.' The Committee 
decided 'that it is not desirable to expend 
any more money for this purpose on the 
University Grounds, but that a suitable 
building be erected on the site vested in the 
Trustees'.. None of this money actually 
eventuated and over the next 20 years gov- 
ernments came and went; some voting 
Funds for the Museum, but none carrying 
the work through. I ven during the boom- 
ing 1880s the Museum's operating funds 
were steadily eroded to a point where cred- 
itors and even staff were not being paid 
and the purchase of specimens from over- 

Vol. 118(5)2001 


McCoy Issue 

seas was out of the question. 

These were not happy times for McCoy. 
Quite apart from the difficulties with 
which he had to contend at the Museum. 
the death of his wife, son and daughter 
within five years of each other; mounting 
financial problems (mostly caused by pay- 
ing for Museum acquisitions from his own 
pocket rather than lose an opportunity to 
gain some important specimen); and 
steadily deteriorating health, left him 
bruised and perhaps a little bowed. He 
wrote to Baron von Mueller in 1891: 
I am still so weak, & get my strength back 
so slowly that I am quite out of spirits and 
patience. Yesterday after my second lecture 
I was so exhausted that t had to go and lie 
down before 1 could go home. Each day 
however I am a little better & hope soon to 
be well enough to tackle my arrears of work 
and return thanks to all die Kind enquiries 
during my nearly three months mostly in 
bed. My medical attendant protests against 
my return to work and lecturing. 
While this was a time of recovered amity, 
30 years earlier McCoy and Mueller found 
themselves on opposite sides in a tussle 
between colonial and imperial science in 
the form of the Cranbourne Meteorites, the 
full story of which is given in Sara 
Maroskc's paper. 

It is easily forgotten that McCoy held 
down two full-time jobs throughout the 43 
years from 1856 to his death at the age of 
77, and served on numerous governmental 
advisory bodies during this period. He was 
an active member and office-holder of the 
Royal Society of Victoria, a regular con- 
tributor to local and international scientific 
journals, provided an anonymous contribu- 
tion on natural history topics (see McCann, 
Microzoon) and maintained a busy corre- 
spondence with fellow practitioners around 
the world. At his death the museum con- 
tained over half a million specimens; and 
while a substantial number came as estab- 
lished collections, the majority were iden- 
tified, catalogued and arranged by McCoy 
himself over the four decades the Museum 
was in his care. 

If the Trustees, the University and the 
Government found McCoy to be a thorn in 
their collective side, the rest of the world 
was more generous in its recognition. 
Australia had a unique native flora and 

fauna that was attractive to museums 
around the world. McCoy traded far and 
wide, and through the national museums of 
many countries gained important contacts 
and an international reputation as a natural 
history scientist. Civil, academic and pro- 
fessional honours followed. 

While McCoy is particularly known for 
his role at the Museum and the University, 
there were other organisations in which he 
was involved and/or recognised. In 1935, 
at the suggestion of the Vice-Chancellor of 
Melbourne University, a society for the 
study of field investigation and research 
was set up and named for McCoy, honour- 
ing the foundation professor of Natural 
Science. The society's 60+ year history is 
reviewed in David Ashtoirs paper "The 
History of the McCoy Society'. It seems 
that McCoy's name carried some cachet. 
As Sheila Houghton reveals in her paper 
'Frederick McCoy and the FNCV\ 
McCoy, despite having been elected foun- 
dation President, limited his participation 
in the Club's activities over the three years 
he held the position to giving the 
Presidential Address at the annual 
Conversazione. He was somewhat more 
involved in the Acclimatisation Society of 
Victoria. In 1862, McCoy made a seminal 
address to the Society. In it he sounded a 
sober, cautionary note against a growing 
enthusiasm for attempting to bring fauna 
from all over the globe to be acclimatised. 
He stressed that only animals from regions 
of similar climate should be considered and 
condemned the importation of 'exotics'. On 
a lighter note he spoke of his own sadness 
at not being able to hear the song of 
European birds in an alien environment and 
he strongly promoted their import as an 
anodyne for homesickness. The good sense 
of the former has been ignored and the 
humanness of the latter has been ridiculed. 
Linden Citibank's paper traces the history 
of the Zoological Society and the 
Acclimatisation Society and the degree to 
which McCoy contributed to them. 

All of about a dozen articles I have read 
focus their condemnation of the 
Acclimatisation Society on McCoy and a 
knee-jerk reaction might be to believe that 
he was personally responsible for the intro- 
duction into Australia of everything from 
rabbits to cane-toads. When you carefully 


The Victorian Naturalist 

Part One 

evaluate all this material you realise thai 
McCoy was, in fact, a fairly inconsequen- 
tial player in the whole imbroglio. One 
explanation of this apparent anomaly is 
that McCoy has been made a lightning rod 
for all the Jovian bolts that those blessed 
with 20/20 hindsight so enjoy casting. 
When you write about events that hap- 
pened a century or more ago there is a lim- 
ited amount of paper on which to draw. 
McCoy was a great one for producing 
paper; he corresponded widely, he was a 
member of all the learned societies in the 
colony, he wrote letters to the papers, he 
lectured on controversial subjects - that 
were then reported in the papers; he had an 
opinion on everything and was not afraid 
to express it - he provides much quotable 
material. This results in his appearing larg- 
er than life and to having a higher profile 
in a number of events and issues than he in 
fact deserves - and this applies just as 
much to his accredited successes as to his 
perceived failures. It has been said that he 
who never makes a decision or takes a posi- 
tion, never makes a mistake; the obvious 
corollary is that the more decisions and posi- 
tions you take the higher your rate of mis- 
takes is likely to be. McCoy was never ioath 
to lay it on the line and consequently he 
made some really big blunders that, had they 
been acted on, would have had significant 
economic consequences for the colonics. 

As everyone knows, in the early 1850s 
there was a gold rush in Victoria. But as 
quickly as they were discovered, the allu- 
vial deposits were panned out and more 
sophisticated and deeper-seeking methods 
were required. In 1856 a Royal 
Commission was set up under the chair- 
manship of Professor McCoy to investigate 
the long-term potential of gold mining in 
Victoria. The resulting report was at once a 
disappointment and a puzzle to the mining 
fraternity. Whilst opposing him on the 
Carradoc beds, McCoy deferred to 
Murchison in the latter's contention that 
gold veins in quartz were at their richest 
nearest the surface and diminished with 
depth. As more and more reefs were traced 
down and down - some to a depth of half a 
mile at Bendigo and still yielding payable 
gold, McCoy became something of a 
Faughing stock. Serle ( 1963) says, 'McCoy 
probably more than any man created or 

confirmed the Australian legend of the 
"impractical academic'". While this is per- 
haps a little harsh, McCoy certainly did not 
cover himself in glory in this area, nor in 
his dispute with Rev. W.B. Clarke over the 
age of the NSW coalfields. 

Clarke, another of Adam Sedgwick's stu- 
dents, might rightly be called the father of 
Australian geology. He was based in NSW 
and was the major influence in defining 
likely areas for coal exploration. While 
Roger Pierson clearly explains the whole 
controversy in his paper by presenting the 
geological and palacontological evidence, 
the essentials are that McCoy and Clarke 
disputed the age of some of the coalfields 
in NSW, based on their fossil content. If 
McCoy were right, the potential for coal 
discoveries in NSW would be substantially 
lower than if Clarke were right, with the 
viability of a major economic resource at 
question. McCoy based and held his posi- 
tion on his examination of specimens that 
Clarke had sent to Cambridge while 
McCoy was working there. McCoy 
assessed them in terms of European geolo- 
gy, while Clarke was on the ground in 
Australia. Whilst the dispute raged for 
twenty years, McCoy made no attempt to 
travel up from Melbourne to Maitland to 
see for himself, despite repeated invita- 
tions and challenges by Clarke to do so. He 
certainly was an intractable reactionary! 

Because McCoy did not wholeheartedly 
accept Darwin's theories of evolution he 
has been dismissively labelled a 'creation- 
ist'; a term that has pejorative connotations 
for many. It would be misleading to view 
him in this context. While ultimately defer- 
ring to a "Divine Blueprint', he presented 
in two public lectures circa 1870 a careful- 
ly reasoned scientific position opposing 
Darwin, based on available geological and 
palacontological evidence and firmly 
embedded in the prevailing scientific para- 
digm. He was not persuaded by a new and 
questionable hypothesis that challenged 
the perceived wisdom of Science, Society 
and Religion. Today, most would consider 
him wrong-headed. But his was not the 
wrong-headedness of dogmatic theism; 
rather McCoy was perhaps something of a 
deist. It was more a ease of McCoy's sci- 
ence informing his religion, rather than his 
religion confounding his science. Darwin's 

Vol. 118(5)2001 


McCoy Issue 

theories are best observed at work in more 
recent times, geologically speaking. The 
fossil record today does not show a slow 
but steady transmutation from one species 
to another; and in McCoy's day much less 
was known, much less discovered. Indeed, 
today we still sec large gaps in the fossil 
record; transition species are few and far 
between. Stephen Jay Gould (Eldrcdgc and 
Gould 1972), a respected American 
palaeontologist, hypothesises the uneven 
fossil record in terms of "punctuated equi- 
libria' - long periods of genetic stability 
interrupted by brief flurries of major muta- 
tion. Echoes from McCoy's lectures sound 
curiously contemporary. 

... The whole scheme of nature is not a con- 
tinuous unbroken cord or chain of slight 
development, as the progressive develop- 
ment theory would require; but that at the 
point of change from every one of these 
subkingdoms to another you find a total 
change of plan - a totally new mode of con- 
struction for all the essential characteristics 
of the creaUire. 

Barry Butcher's paper on McCoy and 
Darwinism looks at the issue in the social 
and religious context of the time and - 
both generally and specifically - at 
McCoy's position in it. Wayne Gerdlz's 
paper on Sarcophihts harrisii provides an 
interesting insight into how McCoy's atti- 
tude to evolutionism impacted on the prac- 
tice of his science. 

Presently, not a great deal is known of 
McCoy's personal life. He was the second 
son of Simon Henry McCoy (c. 1795- 
1875) and Bridget (surname not known; c. 
1799-1876). They had at least three chil- 
dren; a son of unknown name, Frederick 
and Agnes (c. 1826-1901). Simon was a 
prominent medical practitioner in Dublin, 
a Licentiate of the Royal College of 
Surgeons from 1828 and Professor of 
Materia Medica, Medical Jurisprudence 
and Toxicology in Queen's College. 
(ialway, from 1849 (the same year in 
which his son Frederick became a profes- 
sor in Queen's College, Belfast). McCoy 
was expected to follow in his father's pro- 
fessional footsteps but, after completing 
the theoretical work for his medical degree 
and being too young to practise, he pur- 
sued his passion for natural science, did 
not complete the requisite practical experi- 

ence and thus was not admitted to the 
degree - see also Tom Darragh's paper. 
Medicine's loss was palaeontology's gain. 

In 1842 McCoy married Anna Maria 
Harrison (c. 1819-1886). daughter of 
Thomas Harrison, Attorney, and Eliza 
Coonan. To Anna were bom five children, 
three of whom died in infancy. Frederick 
Henry (1843-1887) graduated in Law from 
the University of Melbourne in 1 868 and 
migrated to New Zealand where he set up 
practice in 1870 as a barrister and solicitor 
in the country town of Lawrence. He mar- 
ried Mary Ann Thompson (1852-1938) in 
1870 and they had eight children. Emily 
Mary (1842-1891), unmarried, lived in the 
parental home all her life, probably house- 
keeping for her father after her mother's 

The McCoys were members of what 
might be called the intellectual aristocra- 
cy' of Melbourne; McCoy was a member 
of the Melbourne Club and a Justice of the 
Peace, and one gels an occasional glimpse 
of their social life through the diary entries 
of their contemporaries. McCoy was born 
a Roman Catholic and was buried in 
Brighton Cemetery according to the rites 
of the Church of England. Whether this 
was a k Via Damascus' conversion or a 
pragmatic update to his curriculum vitae in 
a Protestant England is unknown, but Rev 
Sedgwick, a minister of the Church of 
England, and mentor of the young 
Frederick, somewhat dramatically averred 
in a letter supporting McCoy's application 
for the Melbourne University post that; '... 
McCoy was brought up a Papist but he was 
a good truth-loving Catholic, and never a 
Gadarean swine - He is now a conscien- 
tious member of the English Church; ...' 
The McCoy children were raised and died 
in the Church of England. However, in his 
later years McCoy was much involved 
with Xavier College, and at his death a 
Roman Catholic priest claimed that he had 
made a deathbed recantation, but this was 
strongly denied by a grandson who was 
present at the time. The truth of the matter 
will probably remain unresolved. 

Shortly after his wife's death in 1886, 
McCoy, on six month's sabbatical leave 
and accompanied by his daughter, visited 
England, to be invested as a Companion of 
St Michael and St George and to look up 


The Victorian Naturalist 

Part One 

old friends, Turkey - a geologist in search 
of the Ark? and probably a number of 
other countries. It was the only time he left 
Australia. While initially occupying one of 
the professorial houses on the university 
campus for some years, Frederick, Anna 
and Emily spent most of their lives in their 
South Road. Brighton home. Maritime! - 
which is now part of Xavier College. In 
McCoy's papers there are a couple of land 
transfer and ownership documents, but nei- 
ther bears his name. What is known is that 
he did own at least one other property, as 
related in Doug McCanrfs paper 'Frederick 
McCoy's Mount Macedon Property". 

While we know he died on 13 May 1899, 
in the absence of a birth certificate there is 
some controversy in Australia about 
McCoy's birth date. All direct or derived 
sources from Great Britain unequivocally 
state 1823, as do most Australian sources, 
including The Age obituary. The alterna- 
tive date of 1817, used in the Australian 
Dictionary of Biography, appears to have 
originated from a single source - the obitu- 
ary in The Argus, Australian sources that 
give 1817 as the date justify it by pointing 
out that McCoy had a scientific paper pub- 
lished in the Magazine of Natural History in 
1838, making him 15 at the time, if born in 
1823. See DarragrTs paper for further 
details. Drawing on a number of sources, 1 
have concluded that McCoy was most like- 
ly to have been born in 1 822 or perhaps 

1821. 1821/22 will appear in McCoy's 
entry in the new edition of the 'Dictionary 
of National Biography' (due 2004). 
McCoy's name is found in various docu- 
ments as cither McCoy or rVTCoy. Neil 
Archbold takes a brief look at this issue. 

One of the most fruitful areas for further 
research into McCoy would perhaps be to 
resolve how it was that he managed to 
retain control of the National Museum and 
keep it at the University for 43 years against 
the wishes of powerful forces: through 26 
state governments, numerous university 
councillors and museum trustees; and yet 
within six months of his death, the whole of 
the National Museum collection was relo- 
cated in downtown Swanston Street, where 
it shared cramped premises with the Slate 
Library and the National Gallery of 
Victoria, to the detriment of all. 


FUlredgc. \ and Gould. S.J. (I L >72). Punctured equi- 
libria: an alternative to phyletie gradualism. In 
Models in Paleobiology', Ed. TJ.M. Schopf. 
(freeman. Cooper and Co.: San Francisco.) 

Galbfllly, V | 1995). "Redmond Barry: an Anglo-Irish 
Australian' I Molhournc University Press. 
Melbourne I 

McCoy, Sir Frederick, Correspondence [841-1892, CV 
Reel 499. Mitchell Library. Sydney. 

Moyal. A. i 1986), 'A Bright and Savage Land". 
(Penguin Books: Melbourne.) 

Scott, l | 193(f). 'A History of The University ot" 
Melbourne". (Melbourne University Press: 
Melbourne.) \ 

Serle. (i. (1963). The Golden Age: a history of the 
Colon} of Victoria 1851-ISul'. (Melbourne 
University Press: Melbourne.) 

Editors' Acknowledgements 

A special issue of The Victorian Naturalist was first proposed in July 1999 to commemorate 
the centenarv of the death of Sir Frederick McCoy, the first President of The Field Naturalists 
Club of Victoria. Work started in March 2000, but because of the interest from many authors and 
the large amount of material we received, it soon became apparent that the issue would be much 
larger than anticipated (ultimately requiring two issues) and take much longer to prepare. Thanks 
are due to many people who assisted us - Virgil Hubrcgtse and Michael McBain diligently proof 
read all the manuscripts, and members of the editorial committee (Tom May, John Seebeck, Ian 
Endersby and Ian Mansergh) provided valuable advice. Charles Leski Auctions digitally pho- 
touraphed many of the images contained in these issues and Steve Kitto of Brown Prior 
Anderson Ply Ltd (our printers) also provided technical assistance. Permission to reproduce pic- 
tures was kindly granted by the Slate Library of Victoria, Museum Victoria, the University of 
Melbourne Archives and Art Collection and Peter Schouten. 

John Seebeck (NRE) and Tom Darragh (Museum Victoria) helped with planning in the early 
stages. Frank Job, head librarian at Museum Victoria provided access to McCoy's original corre- 
spondence and Wayne Longmore. also at Museum Victoria located some of the bird specimens 
purchased by McCoy for us to photograph. 

Dr Doug McCann first proposed the idea of a special issue on McCoy, provided much assis- 
tance in planning the issue and commissioned many of the writers. Professor Neil Archbold of 
Deakin UniversiTy suggested, and provided the funding for, the colour section of Part I wo. We 
are most appreciative and thank them both. 

Vol. 118(5)2001 


McCoy Issue 

Frederick McCoy: the Irish Years 

Thomas A. Darragh 1 

Frederick McCoy was Australia's first 
resident palaeontologist and until the 
arrival in Adelaide in 1 875 of Professor 
Ralph Tate (1840-1901) its only profes- 
sional palaeontologist. Of McCoy's educa- 
tion, we know nothing except some evi- 
dence to suggest he may have attended a 
school run by the Jesuits in Dublin (Dening 
and Kennedy 1993). Since his father. 
Simon, was a physician, it is not unreason- 
able to suspect that his father may have had 
some influence in developing an interest in 
natural history. Whatever his education, he 
must have been something of a child prodi- 
gy, because he published his first paper, on 
birds, 'Remarks on Mr Eyton's arrange- 
ment of the Gulls' in the Magazine of 
Natural History in 1838, when he would 
have been about 14 or 15, and also gave a 
lecture on the orders of birds to the fourth 
meeting of the Natural History Society pf 
Dublin on 16 April 1838. McCoy stated 
that it was intended he follow his father's 
profession, and being a lonely child, he 
spent much of his time studying (Anon 
1 891 ). It is alleged that he attended medical 
courses in Dublin, perhaps conducted by 
his father, but was too young to enrol for- 
mally in a course. Despite this, in 
November 1839 he gave two lectures on 
anatomy to the Peter Street Anatomical 
School, run by his father. Thai same year 
he joined the Geological Society of Dublin 
and was appointed assistant to Dr John 
Scouler (1804-1871), one of the two secre- 
taries of the Society, to assist in arranging 
the fossil collections in the Society's 
Museum (Griffith 1841). Scolder, an emi- 
nent naturalist, was Professor of geology, 
zoology and botany at the Royal Dublin 
Society and must also have been an impor- 
tant influence on McCoy. 

In 1839 McCoy published his first 
description of a fossil, a Carboniferous 
ostracod Emomoconchus scouleri, in a 
paper entitled 'On a new genus of 

1 Museum Victoria. GPO Box 666R. Melbourne, 
Victoria 3001. 

Entomostraca from the Mountain 
Limestone" in the Journal of (he 
Geologieal Society of Dublin (McCoy 
1839) (Fig. I). He continued working at 
the Geological Society of Dublin into 1841 
and also that year arranged the collection 
of Henry Charles Sir* for sale (McCoy 
1841a. b). The appendix of the catalogue 
of organic remains of the Sirr collection 
contains descriptions of nine species of 
fossils (McCoy 1841a). His position with 
the Society was terminated in February 
1842 for neglect of curatorial duties 
(Hemes Davies 1983) and it has been 
alleged that his work was slipshod. His 
successor in this position was Thomas 
Oldham (1816-1878), who later was to 
quarrel with McCoy over fossil identifica- 
tions and was certainly prejudiced against 
McCoy, as later events proved. 

The catalogue of the Geological Society 
Museum, issued in 1841, has an appendix 
containing descriptions of new species of 
fossils. There is no author cited for this but 
McCoy is credited with the arrangement in 
the introduction to the catalogue and pre- 
sumably he was the author (McCoy 
1841c). He certainly listed it amongst his 
publications when applying for the 
Melbourne chair. Whilst McCoy was 
undertaking this work, he was also work- 
ing as a palaeontologist for Richard 
Griffith (1784-1878), who had invited 
McCoy to determine the fossils collected 
by him and his staff of the Boundary 
Survey of Ireland. Griffith needed 
McCoy's information to determine ages 
for his Geological Map of Ireland, then in 
process of compilation. The results of this 
work were published in 1844 as Synopsis 
of the Carboniferous Fossils of Ireland and 
in 1846 as Synopsis of the Silurian Fossils 
of Ireland. McCoy was a talented natural 
history artist and undertook the necessary 
illustration in these monographs and his 
other publications himself. The publication 
of the two monographs was financed by 
Griffith, who, unfortunately for McCoy 
and later palaeontologists, 'suppressed ... 


The Victorian Naturalist 

Part One 




Fig. 1. Illustration from McCoy's first paper publis 

a great deal of McCoy's good work' by 
cutting out all the locality details of the 
fossils as a cost-saving measure (Sedgwick 
1S54). Possibly it was this work for 
Griffiths that left McCoy open to accusa- 
tions of neglect of his duties to the 
Geological Society. It was while working 
at the Society in 1841 that McCoy first met 
Adam Sedgwick (1785-1873), Professor of 
Geology at Cambridge University, who 
was on a visit to Dublin. Sedgwick seems 
to have been impressed with the young 
McCoy, who was working on Richard 
Griffith's fossil fish at the time (Sedgwick 
1854), and was later to play a very impor- 
tant role in McCoy's advancement. 

In November 1842, McCoy applied for 
the position of Curator of the Museum of 
the Geological Society of London, in place 
of William Lonsdale. McCoy was one of 
nine candidates, including Edward Forbes 
(I SI 5-1854), Edward Charlesworth (1813- 
1893), N.J. Larkin (1781-1855) and 
Thomas Oldham, who became well known 
names in geology (Hutton 1842). Forbes 
received the appointment. In 1843, McCoy 


( ^*f* Coy ) 

hed on a fossil. 1839. 

married Anna Harrison and two children, 
Emily and Frederick Henry, were born soon 
after, so McCoy had need of more perma- 
nent employment to support his family. 

Late in 1844 McCoy was in negotiation 
with the Royal Dublin Society concerning 
the arrangement and naming of its collec- 
tion of recent and fossil specimens, but 
was not employed, possibly because of 
lack of funds (Griffith 1844). At this time 
discussions were also under way concern- 
ing the establishment of a geological sur- 
vey for the whole of Ireland. Early in 
1845, McCoy had been in touch with 
Henry .fames (1803-1877), who was to be 
the Local Director of the Survey and who 
seems to have been keen to have McCoy 
as palaeontologist (James 1845a). 
However, when the Geological Survey of 
Ireland was formally established, it was 
decided that all the fossils would be deter- 
mined by Edward Forbes, who was then 
Palaeontologist to the Geological Survey 
of England and Wales. McCoy wrote on 
22 March applying for a position on the 
Survey and on 22 May he was offered an 

Vol. 118(5)2001 


McCoy Issue 

appointment as an Assistant Geologist by 
James, who advised that his 'assistance 
will be required principally in the field. 
and not as a fossilisf (James 1845b). The 
appointment was to be probationary for six 
months, with permanent employment sub- 
ject to satisfactory performance. The pay 
was 10 shillings per day for a working 
week of six days. McCoy accepted the 
offer on 24 May and was sent to map an 
area in County Carlow (Merries Davies 
1995). Il is clear from surviving correspon- 
dence that James was pleased with 
McCoy's progress and that they got on 
well together. Even Henry De La Beche 
(1796- 1855), Director General of the 
Geological Survey, was pleased with 
McCoy's work when shown one of 
McCoy's sections by James (James 1846). 
Unfortunately for McCoy, James 
resigned his position in June 1846 and the 
new appointment as Local Director went to 
McCoy's enemy Thomas Oldham. 
McCoy's difficult position was well appre- 
ciated by James, who went so far as to 
inform De La Beche that he felt it advis- 
able McCoy be transferred to England, but 
De I. a Beche did not treat the matter seri- 
ously and McCoy remained in Ireland. 
McCoy had feuded with Oldham at 
Geological Society meetings from at least 
June 1844 to as late as June 1846 over 
Oldham's comments on some of McCoy's 
determinations of Carboniferous fossils. 
Oldham took up his duties in July 1846 
and il was not long before he was making 
complaints about the quality of McCoy's 
work. On 29 August 1846, he wrote to 
McCoy pointing out errors in his mapping. 
At first McCoy defended himself by stat- 
ing that he was precluded from offering 
any explanations because Oldham had not 
given any particulars, but McCoy must 
have realised that Oldham would keep 
hounding him, so he resigned on 30 
September 1846. on the grounds of 'the 
strong personal animosity he always exhib- 
ited towards me' (McCoy 1846). Some of 
McCoy's field sheets have survived and 
they show what could be regarded as slip- 
shod work, but it should be borne in mind 
thai the mapping was at a scale of six inch- 
es to the mile which does allow very pre- 
cise mapping if the geologist is expected to 
map every detail he comes across. 

However, McCoy, as well as the other 
geologists, was probably inadequately 
briefed and James himself probably had no 
real idea of exactly what was required. 
How much of Oldham's criticisms of 
McCoy were due to real problems and how 
much to prejudice cannot be ascertained 
(Hemes Davies 1995). 

In July 1846, anticipating problems with 
Oldham, McCoy had tried unsuccessfully 
for other positions. Richard Griffith sug- 
gested McCoy seek a professorship at 
Cork and that he would speak to Robert 
Kane (1809-1890) of the Royal Dublin 
Society, who wrote to McCoy advising 
that he was glad McCoy had applied and 
would let him know if he heard anything 
(Griffith 1846; Kane 1846). Nothing came 
of this. 

On the advice of Henry James, by now at 
Southampton, McCoy contacted Adam 
Sedgwick in Cambridge (McCoy 1846), 
who wrote in November 1846 that he 
could offer no permanent employment, but 
only what he had already intended to offer 
Joseph Beete Jukes, who instead had taken 
up a position with the Geological Survey. 
This was '100 £ from my own purse & I 
trusted that 1 might obtain another 100 £ 
from the University - and I thought he 
might be induced by this sum to take up 
his quarters here for one year arranging our 
Museum*, lie then went on to say 'could 
you give me any notion of the sum which 
(and in (he circumstances I have pointed 
out) would induce you to come for one 
year to Cambridge?' (Sedgwick 1846). 
McCoy accepted the offer, which eventual- 
ly was extended for another two years. 

McCoy's first contact with Australian 
fossils was in 1847, when he studied and 
published on a collection of fossils from 
the coalfields of New South Wales and 
Tasmania, sent to Cambridge by Rev. 
W.B. Clarke (1798-1878) (see Pierson this 
issue). McCoy determined, erroneously as 
it turned out, that these fossils were 
Mesozoie in age (McCoy 1847), a view he 
continued to hold when he came to 
Melbourne, and which strengthened in his 
mind when he examined fossils from 
Victoria that were truly Mesozoie. This 
view was the basis of a long dispute with 
Clarke about the age of the New South 
Wales and Victorian coalfields, in which 


The Victorian Naturalist 

Part One 

neither one could see the merits of the 
other's arguments (Valianee 1981). 

During his time at Cambridge, McCoy 
attended lectures in Botany (1847). 
Chemistry, Medicine and Surgery (1848). 
but never completed a degree. Even as late 
as 1852 he intended to take out a medical 
degree, but he never finished the final sub- 
jects. It seems that more interesting activi- 
ties prevented him. Despite this lack of for- 
mal qualifications, his experience and abili- 
ty were such that he secured the appoint- 
ment of Professor of Mineralogy & 
Geology at Queen's College, Belfast in 
August 1849 and he continued to work with 
Sedgwick during the University vacations. 

The palaeontological results of this col- 
laboration with Sedgwick were published 
in three parts from 185! to 1855 in a large 
monograph. A Systematic Description of 
the British Palaeozoic Fossils in the 
Geological Museum of the University of 
Cambridge (Cambridge), but. apart from a 
100 page introduction, Sedgwick's contri- 
bution never appeared. As well as his 
major works, McCoy published about 30 
articles between 1845 and 1854 on a vari- 
ety of subjects but mostly on Palaeozoic 
fo'ssils (Anon 1899). Much of McCoy's 
palaeontological work was directed 
towards supporting Sedgwick's position in 
Sedgwick's great battle with Sir Roderick 
Murchison over the boundary between the 
Cambrian and the Silurian Systems 
(Secord 1986; see McCann this issue). 

Because his salary at Belfast was only 
£200, McCoy was anxious to obtain more 
lucrative employment. In June 1851 and 
September 1852. he unsuccessfully offered 
his palaeontological services to the British 
Museum, and in November 1853, follow- 
ing Edward Forbes' appointment to 
Edinburgh University. McCoy unsuccess- 
fully applied to succeed Forbes as 
Palaeontologist to the Geological Survey 
(McCoy 1851, 1852, 1853). In December 
1852 he applied for the Vice-Presidentship 
of Queen's College, Galway. This position 
was to be held with the Chair of Zoology 
Despite having excellent references, he 
was unsuccessful. Had he been appointed, 
McCoy would have joined his father who 
was already a professor there. In support of 
McCoy. Sedgwick (1852) wrote; 

For about five or six years he has been most 
intimately connected with Cambridge. 
During three years he entirely lived amongst 
us. and during the last two or three years he 
has spent a large portion o\' each year 
amongst us - carrying on. with almost 
incredible labour and perseverance, a great 
scientific work which he has now brought 
nearly to completion, lie was originally des- 
tined for the medical profession, and he still 
I believe, purposes to take a medical degree, 
for which purpose he has attended a part of 
our Cambridge course and obtained a certifi- 
cate to that effect. He is a man of liberal 
attainment, of cheerful gentlemanlike man- 
ners, and of a tolerant temper and disposi- 
tion, which enable him to live on terms o\' 
familiar friendship with men who widely dif- 
fer from him in opinion. Thus, altho* he is a 
Roman Catholic and conforming to the disci- 
pline of that church, he has gained the confi- 
dence and cordial goodwill of men of all par- 
lies in Cambridge. Of course I now speak of 
the University of Cambridge in which there 
are persons ofvety different and very strong 
opinions. I am absolutely certain that all the 
Members of the University, who had the 
pleasure of his acquaintance, will bear testi- 
mony to that which I am here asserting. No 
man can. 1 believe, lament more than him- 
self, the intolerance and violence of the 
extreme religious parties in Ireland. I think 
this remark important, for of his great attain- 
ment as a naturalist and comparative 
anatomist there can be no doubt, and on 
these points he can appeal to his published 
works and obtain most ample testimonials. I 
believe him to be one of ihe very best 
palaeontologists in Europe. No one of my 
friends (and I have been the Cambridge 
Professor of Geology for 34 years) has so 
large an historical knowledge of foreign 
works on Palaeontology, and no one of my 
friends has for the last 16 or 17 years, 
worked so hard with hands and head as he 
has done, among all parts of the animal king- 
dom revealed to us in the old world. 
This high opinion of McCoy was by no 
means confined to an old employer and 
collaborator, but was also held by others. It 
was probably the influence of Sedgwick, 
coupled with the anti-Catholic prejudice 
that McCoy constantly experienced, that 
caused McCoy to convert from Roman 

VOL 118 (5) 2001 


McCoy Issue 

Catholicism to Anglicanism about May 
1854. Sedgwick remained a close friend 
until the latter's death in 1873. 

By 1854 McCoy was regarded as one of 
the leading general palaeontologists in 
England, specialising in the Palaeozoic, 
With this background, yet lacking the stip- 
ulated degree of one of the five great 
British universities, he applied for the posi- 
tion of Professor of Natural Science in the 
newly established University of Melbourne 
in June 1854, attracted by a salary five 
times greater than he was then receiving. 
He was supported by glowing testimonials 
from some of the leading scientists of the 
day, including Adam Sedgwick, John S. 
Henslow of Cambridge, William Whewell 
of Cambridge, and Sir Roderick 
Murchison. McCoy competed with over 90 
other candidates. Whilst he was seeking 
support for his application, he was private- 
ly grieving for the loss of a daughter who 
died in late May or early June (Henry 
1854), so the joy surrounding his appoint- 
ment to Melbourne was tempered by 
bereavement. McCoy, his wife and the two 
surviving children. Emily and Frederick 
Henry, (another child had died in 1852) 
left England aboard Champion of the Seas. 
arriving in Melbourne in December 1854. 


I aim grateful to Malcolm Carkcek lor useful dis- 
cussion and suggestions about the paper and for 
providing essential references. Peter Crowther 
kindly read a draft of the manuscript and provid- 
ed material for the paper. 


Anon (189 1). Sir Frederick McCoy, fable Talk 9 
January 18*)]. 

Anon (1899). Professor Sir Frederick McCoy 
K.C.M.G , M.A.. D.Sc. (Cantab), F.R.S.. F,G.S 
Geological Magazine (IV), 6. 283-7, Wilh bibliogra- 
phy of mosi of his published work. 

Doling, G. and Kennedy. D. (1993). Wavier Portraits'. 
(Old Xaverians' Association: Melbourne.) 

Griffith, R. (1841), 'An address delivered at the ninth 
annual meeting of the Geological Society of Dublin, 
on the 12th of February 1840'. (Hodges & Smith 

Griffith, R. (1844). Griffith to McCoy, 4 November 
1844, McCoy papers. Mitchell Library. State Library 
of New South Wales, CY reel 499, 46-7, 

Griffith* R- (1846). Griffith to McCoy, 5 July 1846. 
McCoy papers. Mitchell Library, State Library of 
New South Wales, CY reel 499, 73-4. 

Henry. P.S. (1854). P. Slntldham Henry, President, 
Queen's College, Belfast, to Sir Roderick Murchison 
8 June 1854, McCoy papers, Mitchell Library, State 
Library of New South Wales, CY reel 499, 277-282. 
Hemes Da\ies, G.L. ( 1983). -Sheets of many Colours. 
The mapping of Ireland's rocks 1750-1890'. (Royal 
Dublin Society: Dublin.) 
Hemes Davies. G.L. (1995). 'North from the Hook: 
150 years of the Geological Survey of Ireland). 
(Geological Survey of Ireland; Dublin.) 
Hutton, N. (1842). Mutton to McCoy, 16 and 24 
November 1842, McCoy papers, Mitchell Library, 
Stale Library of New South Wales, CY reel 499, 34-39. 
James, H. ( 1845a). James to McCoy, 19 January and 17 
March 1845, McCoy papers. Mitchell Library, State 
Library of New South Wales, CY reel 499, 48-5 1 . 
James, 11. (1845b). James to McCoy. 22 May 1845. 

Geological Survey of Ireland archives, Dublin. 
James, H (1846). James to McCoy. 7 January 1846, 
McCoy papers, Mitchell Library. State Library ol 
New South Wales. CY reel 499. 60-1. 
Kane, R, (1846). Kane to McCoy. 10 July 1846, 
McCoy papers. Mitchell Librarv." Slate Librarv Oj 
New South Wales, CY reel 499, 75. 
McCoy, F, (1839). On a new genus of Entomoslraca 
Irom the Mountain Limestone. Journal of the 
Geological Society tj "Dublin. 2, 91-4. pi. 5. 
McCoy. F. (1841a). 'Catalogue of Organic Remains, 
now exhibiting at the Long Room, in the Rolundo, 
collected by the late Henry Charles Sirr. Esq,.. 5 
McCoy, F. (1841b). 'Catalogue of Recent Shells, now 
exhibiting at the Long Room, in the Rotundo. collect- 
ed by the late Henry Charles Sirr, Lsq...", (Dublin.) 
McCoy, F, (I84!c). 'A Catalogue of the Museum ot 

the Geological Society of Dublin". (Dublin.) 
McCoy, F. (1846). McCoy to Sedgwick 16 November 

1846. McCoy letters. Museum Victoria. 
McCoy, F. { 1 847). On the fossil botany and /oology of 
the rocks associated with the coal of Australia. 
Amah and Magazine of Natural History, 20. 145- 
157. 226-236. 298-312, pis 9-17, 
McCoy. F. (1851). McCoy to British Museum, 15 

September 1851. McCoy letters. Museum Victoria. 
McCoy. F. (1852). McCoy to Sir Roderick Murchison, 

30 June 1 852, McCoy letters. Museum Victoria. 
McCoy, F. (1853). McCoy to Sir Henry De La Bcche 
and Edward Forbes. 8 November 1853, McCoy let- 
ters. Museum Victoria. 
Seeord, J. A. (1986). 'Controversy in Victorian 
Geology: The Cambrian -Silurian Dispute'. 
Sedgwick. A. (1846). Sedgwick to McCov. 18 
November 1846. McCoy papers. Mitchell Library. 
Slate Library of New Smith Wales. CY reel 499, 76-8 
Sedgwick. A. (1852). Sedgwick to Lord Lieutenant of 
Ireland, 13 December 1852, McCoy papers, Mitchell 
Library, Stale Library of New South Wales, CY reel 
499, 294-7. 
Sedgwick, A. (1854). Sedgwick to Sir John Herschel, 
25 May 1854. McCoy papers. Mitchell Library, State 
Library of New South Wales, CY reel 499, 441 
Vallance. T.G. (1981 ). 'The fuss about coal'. In -Plants 
and Man in Australia', pp. 136-176. Eds DJ and 
S.G.M. Carr. (Academic Press; Sydney.) 


The Victorian Naturalist 

Part One 

Frederick McCoy and his Contributions to 
Stratigraphical Palaeontology 

Doim McCann 1 


Sir Frederick McCoy made a significant contribution to the foundation of stratigraphical palaeontol- 
ogy- He earned out extensive taxonomic work soiling, naming and describing the Palaeozoic fossils 
of Ireland and Britain, and also played a decisive role in the debate between Adam Sedgwick and 
Roderick Murchison on where to draw the boundary between the Cambrian and Silurian systems On 
his arrival in the Colony of Victoria in December 1S54 he found that, contrary to the expectations of 
most European scientists, much of the stratigraphy and palaeontology paralleled that in the Northern 
Hemisphere. Hence McCoy was the first to confirm that the geological column was a global phe- 
nomenon- (The Victorian Naturalist 118)5). 2001. 165-177.) 


One of the most noteworthy achieve- 
ments of nineteenth century geological sci- 
ence was the development of convenient 
and reliable methods for elucidating the 
order of succession and relative age of the 
earth's rock strata. The use of fossil organ- 
isms, in particular, for establishing the 
stratigraphical relationships of sedimentary 
rock sequences was a crucial step in subse- 
quent developments in many related and 
newly emerging fields such as historical 
geology, sedimentology, economic geolo- 
gy, evolutionary biology and a host of 
other allied subdisciplincs. The use of fos- 
sils for the characterisation and correlation 
of rock strata is commonly known as bios- 
fratigraphy or stratigraphical palaeontol- 
ogy. Branagan (1998a) gives a succinct 
comprehensive account of the history of 
stratigraphy and the development of the 
Geological Time Scale (Zittel 1901; Gohau 
1990). In this paper it is argued that 
Frederick McCoy played an important part 
in clarifying several key issues in strati- 
graphical palaeontology during its founda- 
tional phase. 

Early work in Ireland 

From the beginning of his working life 

McCoy was essentially a museum-based 
taxonomic palaeontologist. In the literature 
on McCoy it is often emphasised that he- 
did little or no tlcldwork - he was L a natu- 
ralist who stayed indoors' (Fendlcy 1969; 
135). What is sometimes implied here is 
that, because he mainly worked indoors 

School of fie O logy and Environment. Deakin 
University, Rustier Campus, Clayton, Victoria 3*168. 
Email mocflnnftwieakin 

sorting, describing and classifying fossil 
specimens and did not necessarily collect 
the fossils himself, there are probably limi- 
tations in the interpretations he made. 
However, while it is preferable that a prac- 
tising taxonomic palaeontologist should 
examine the source locations of fossils in 
the field, in practice it is not always feasi- 
ble to do so. Like most other sciences, 
geology and palaeontology are collective 
enterprises. By necessity, different aspects 
of the work arc carried out by different 
specialists. Taxonomic palaeontologists 
often rely on the work of others whether 
they are field geologists and palaeontolo- 
gists, amateur collectors or the general 

Furthermore, taxonomic palaeontologists 
often are faced with sorting and descrip- 
tion of huge collections. This was the ease 
with Frederick McCoy. His early work in 
Ireland for the Geological Society of 
Dublin required him to arrange the collec- 
tion of the Museum. The collection was 
already extant; McCoy was hired to sort, 
describe and arrange the collection already 
assembled. Similarly, in IS41 he was 
employed to catalogue the Henry Sirr col- 
lection of shells and fossils, and also to 
curate the collections of the Geological 
Society of Dublin and the Royal Dublin 
Society. At about the same time McCoy 
also began working for Richard Griffith, 
Director of the General Boundary Survey 
of Ireland, in order to make palaeontologi- 
cal determinations for a forthcoming 
Geological Map of Ireland. Again, he 
worked on fossils collected by others; the 
collections were made by Richard Griffith 

Vol. 118(5)2001 


M< ( ( >\ /v\7/i' 

and staff members oi the Boundary 
Survey. This lattci work l>y McCoy result- 
ed in iwo significant hooks Synopsis of the 

( 'iirhnuifi-rous FoSStls Oj U viand (1X44) 

.Hid Synopsis oj the Silurian Fossils <>! 
Ireland ( 1X46). The value and accuracy of 
the actual descriptions and illustrations of 
the fossils in these historic works (Wyse 
Jackson and Monagban 1994) were nol 
diminished by the fact thai McCoy was no! 
i he original collectot (see Archbold, 
Brachiopoda, this issue), 
When the Geological Survey of Ireland 

was established in 1845, McCoy was 
appointed as the first field surveyor 
(Herries Davies I9&3). Captain Henry 
James, the local Dneclor, had expected 
thai McCoy, in light of his already signifi- 
cant experience describing fossils, would 
work as palaeontologist to the Survey, hul 

the Director General of the Geological 

Survey of (heal Britain and Ireland, Sir 
Henry Dc la Heche decided lhal the fossils 
should go to London foe examination by 
Edward Forbes, one of the Survey's 
palaeontologists (Darragh 1992). McCoy 
was instead assigned to the Irish Survey's 
mapping program, for McCoy (his 
appointment docs uol seem to have heen a 
fortunate or happy one. The standard of his 
fieldwork ami the quality of the geological 
maps he produced were criticised by 

Thomas Oldham who took over from 
Henry James as I ocal Director of the 
Survey (Hemes Davies |983), Oldham. 
who later went on to a distinguished career 

as head of the Geological Survey o\ India, 
castigated Mc< oy For numerous errors, 
omissions and careless work. McCoy and 
oldham had previously clashed at meet- 
ings i*\ the Geological Society oi Dublin. 
There was obviously fairly strong personal 
hostility between them, but as Hemes 
Davies (1983: 142) speculates, 'It never- 
theless does seem probable lhal Oldham's 
complaint of slipshod work was grounded 
in fact, ... lour years earlier a similar com- 
plain! had earned McCov virtual dismissal 
from his curalorship al the Geological 

Society oi Dublin 1 Under Oldham's 

supervision McCoy's position at the 
Survey became increasingly untenable and 
in September lS4b he resigned. 

Whatever the validity of the accusations 
against Met o\ there are several points that 

need to be borne in mind, firstly, there 
was considerable underlying hostility 
between McCoy and Oldham that almost 
certainly coloured the issues. Secondly, as 
Herries Davies ( 1983; 142) points out, 
'One of McCoy's problems in 1X46 may 
have been lhal he was inadequately briefed 
as to the duties of a field-geologist. De la 
Beetle's Instructions of May 1X45 had 
been singularly unhelpful in this respect". 
Thirdly. Henry James had apparently hired 
McCoy hoping to draw upon his palaeon- 
lologieal skills; McCoy probably had simi- 
lar expectations himself. Being more ori- 
ented towards the identification and classi- 
fication of fossils, rather than geological 
mapping />vr se, it is possible that McCoy 
carried out his survey work without con- 
viction or enthusiasm (sec Darragh this 

Adam Sedgwick and the Woothvardian 


In any event, this difficult interlude did 
little or no harm to McCoy's future career 
path. As a result of his earlier work and 
publications McCoy had already estab- 
lished his reputation as a promising and 
competent young palaeontologist and his 
efforts did not go unnoticed by Professor 
Adam Sedgwick (17X5 1873), the 
Woodwardian Professor of (icologv al 
Cambridge University. Sedgwick first met 
McCoy in 1S4I and was impressed by his 
work, later slating, '... when I first saw 
him (in 1X41 ) he had nearly completed his 
volume on the Carboniferous fossils of 
Ireland. His Irish works put him in the 
front rank of British palaeontologists' 
(Sedgwick and McCoy 1855: xvi). In 

November 1 X4d Sedgwick invited McCoy 
to arrange the collections in the 
Woodwardian Museum al Cambridge. 
Commenting on his llrst interactions with 
Me( oy, Sedgwick recalled lhal, 'When my 
friend formed his first engagement with 
this University, he came amongsl us young 
indeed in look, but, even then, a veteran in 
Palaeontology, lie was well trained and 
ready for the task he had undertaken; and 
tar belter stored with a knowledge oi ihe 
foreign standard works on Palaeontology 
than any man with whom I had before eon- 
versed" (Sedgwick and McCoy I S 5 S ; wi). 


riio Victorian Naturalist 

Part One 

The \\ oodwardian Museum housed a 
large collection that was originally estab- 
lished by a bequest by John Woodward 
(1665-1728) more than a century earlier. 
and had been added to considerably ever 
since, including many specimens collected 
b> Sedgwick and his students over three 
decades. Sedgwick also supplemented and 
expanded the collection by the purchase of 
other geological collections and selected 
individual specimens to develop one of the 
finest geological museums in the world 
(Rudwiek 1 c > 7 5 > . McCoy's initial appoint- 
ment was for one year but in total he col- 
laborated on the project with Sedgwick tor 
nearly eight years; for three years full- 
time, then part-time. In IK4°- McCoy was 
appointed to the foundation chair o( 
Geology and Mineralogy at Queen's 
College Belfast. His duties included being 
curator of the Museum, but he continued to 
travel back to Cambridge to work on the 
collections during vacations. Sedgwick 
reported that McCoy approached his work 
with enthusiasm and 'almost incredible 
labour and perse\erance* (Darragh 1992: 
17). Sedgwick further testified that 
towards the completion of the project 
'Professor McCoy was employed upon the 
Collection, not only during long hours of 
the day. but frequently during the late 
hours of the night 1 (Sedgwick 1855: viiii. 
The end result was published as A 
Systematic Description of the British 

Palaeozoic Rocks and Fossils in the 
Geological Museum of the University <>l 
Cambridge (IS55), a comprehensive and 
Significant work in the history of palaeon- 
tology. One of McCoy's contemporaries. 
Professor Heinrich Bronn of Heidelberg, 
welcomed the book as 'one of the most 
important appearances in the literature o\' 
Palaeontology' (Fendley \%9; 134), and 
as Sedgwick remarked in the Introduction, 
"Whatever may be the merits of the follow- 
ing work, it is one of enormous labour." 

It is clear that Sedgwick was very 
pj eased w ith McCoy's contribution 
describing him as "one of the very best 
palaeontologists in Europe 1 . However, it 
was not just McCoy's important and wide- 
ranging contribution to systematic 
palaeontology, or his dedicated work in 
organising the collections in the 
Woodwardian Museum, lhat elicited 

Sedgwick's appreciation he had another 
much more personal reason to be grateful 
to McCoy. For a number of years before he 
hired MeCo\. Sedgwick had been locked 
in an increasingly bitter geological dispute 
with his former friend and collaborator, 
Roderick Impey Murchison ( I 7 l )2-lS7l ). 
Because of his association with Sedgwick. 
McCoy also became involved in the 
debate, and played a decisive role in its 
eventual resolution. 

The Foundations of Stratigraphy in 
Great Britain 

The publication of William Smith's \ieo 
logical map of England and Wales in I8I5 
signified the beginning of strati graphical 
geolog) as an organised bod> ol knowl- 
edge in Great Britain. Another milestone 
was the election o\' Adam Sedgwick as 
Woodwardian Professor of ( icologv at 
Cambridge 1 Inivensit) in IMS. although at 
that stage of his career he had little geolog- 
ical knowledge ov experience, lie soon 
made up for his lack ei background and 
expertise by pursuing research that led to 
his recognition as tine of the most capable 
geologists m Britain. He was president o\' 
the Geological Society of London from 
1829 to ISM, and also ihe British 
Association in 1833, Sedgwick has been 
described by historian Walter Cannon as 
'one i>[' Ihe best field geologists of all lime' 
(Speakman 1982: preface), 

Sedgwick look an early interest in geo- 
logical issues associated with lilhology and 
stratigraphy. In this, he was influenced by 
the work of William Conybeare. In 1X22. 
William Conybeare and William Phillips 
published their handbook Outlines of the 
Geology of England and Wales that sum- 
marised the stratigraphy of England, as it 
was then understood, from the recent 
unconsolidated sediments in eastern 
England to the base ol the Old Red 
Sandstone in the west. This handbook 
helped lay down the Foundations ol' 
English str.itigraphical geology and influ- 
enced the direction and content of both 
Sedgwick's and Murchison's subsequent 
geological research. 

At lhat lime, the rock strata were broadly 
classified into four sequences; Prinur 
Secondary, Tertiary and a 'Transition' 
sequence between the apparently unfossil- 

VoL 118(5)2001 


McCoy Issue 

iferous primitive Primary rocks and llic 
Secondary rocks which were usually lay- 
ered and fossili ferous. In theory, the 
Primary, Secondary and Tertiary rocks 
seemed straightforward and accessible for 
study, but the Transition rocks were some- 
what of a mystery. The Transition rocks 
were usually layered or stratified but gen- 
erally highly deformed, and even though 
fossils were known to be present they did 
not appear to be in great abundance. The 
opportunity for unravelling the true nature 
of this sequence beckoned to any aspiring, 
ambitious geologist. There was the added 
attraction that somewhere in the Transition 
sequence the exact point at which life 
began might be discovered. Sedgwick and 
Murchison decided to take up the chal- 
lenge by attempting to decipher the 
Transition rocks in southwest Britain. 

Murchison became a leading figure in 
nineteenth century geology (Stafford 
198*)). His earliest main influence was 
William Buckland, professor of geology at 
Oxford University. Murchison was seven 
years Sedgwick's junior and cultivated a 
relationship with him; benefiting from 
Sedgwick's geological knowledge and 
experience. Intensely ambitious, 
Murchison eventually outgrew his mentors 
to become one of the most influential sci- 
entists of modern times. His influence 
eventually extended around the globe. He 
achieved this by hard work and a strategic 
research campaign - and also by securing 
membership and leadership of important 
scientific societies, such as the Geological 
Society of London, which he joined in 
1824 and served as president from 1831 to 
1834, and again from 1841 to 1843. lie 
was a co-founder of the Royal 
Geographical Society and was president 
for many years, enabling him to become a 
principal player in colonial science and 
exploration (Stafford 1989). His authority 
was further enhanced when he became 
Director General of the Geological Survey 
of Great Britain in 1855 following the 
death of Be la Beche, 


Murchison's collaboration with 
Sedgwick began in the latter half of the 
1820s; they conducted field trips to 
Scotland (1827) and the French Alps 

(1829) and published lengthy memoirs in 
the Transactions of the Geological 
Society. In 1831 they turned their attention 
to the relatively unknown Transition rocks 
of southwest England and Wales (Fig. I). 
The Transition rocks consisted mainly of 
thick confusing sequences of slate and the 
coarse, dark sandstone known as 
greywackc. Greywackc is grey-coloured, 
poorly soiled sandstone ('dirty sandstone") 
consisting of quartz and feldspar grains 
and broken rock fragments mixed with 
substantial amounts of clay particles. Most 
of these Transition rocks were folded, 
faulted and altered. 

To make sense of the Transition 
sequence was a huge task, so they decided 
upon a division of labour. Sedgwick would 
tackle the older Primary and lower 
Transition slaty rocks of North Wales. 
Murchison decided on an approach from 
Western England into Wales from the 
southeast, and would tackle the upper 
Transition sequences which were less dis- 
turbed and, as he discovered, more fossili I- 
erous. For several Held seasons they devot- 
ed themselves to the task. Working sepa- 
rately, they were soon satisfied that they 
were studying two different but contiguous 
geological 'systems'. By 1834 they felt 
that each had identified and interpreted the 
major structural, lithological and palacon- 
tologieal features of their respective 
regions. So in that year they conducted 
their first, and what turned out to be their 
only, joint field trip on the Transition 
rocks, in order to work out how the two 
systems meshed together, and where the 
common boundary might be. 

The I 834 field trip was brief, and even 
though a few issues remained unresolved, 
the two co-workers were confident that 
they had done enough work to delineate 
two discrete geological systems and the 
joint boundary between them. 
Consequently, in 1835 Murchison desig- 
nated his section as the 'Silurian' system, 
after an ancient British tribe that had 
inhabited the area. Sedgwick followed 
soon after with the name 'Cambrian 1 for 
the lower section, after the Roman name 
for Wales. In August 1835 Murchison and 
Sedgwick presented a joint paper before 
the British Association for the 
Advancement of Science titled On the 


The Victorian Naturalist 

Part One 

Fig. 1. Areas of Primary and Transition rocks 
according to Conybeare and Phillips 1822 (after 
Secord 19X6). 

Silurian and Cambrian Systems, exhibiting 
the order in uhieh the older sedimentary 
strata sueeeed each other in England and 
Wales. Both geologists were proud of their 
achievement. They were aware that their 
success in unravelling the structure and 
order of succession for the Lower 
Palaeozoic rocks in Britain might have 
global ramifications (Fig. 2). 

Murchison, in particular, was determined 
to promote their stratigraphieal interpreta- 
tion of the Lower Palaeozoic rocks, or at 
least his version of it. In 1S39 he published 
his classic work The Silurian System, one 
of the most significant geological publica- 
tions of the nineteenth century. It was a 
large two-volume work, 820 pages in 
length, attractively illustrated, and provid- 
ed a compelling rationale for recognition 
of his new Silurian system. His Silurian 
system with its characteristic invertebrate 
fauna rapidly gained acceptance in Europe 
and America. The book was dedicated to 
Sedgwick but in hindsight it was a dedica- 
tion that probably became more of an 
embarrassment to Sedgwick than a tribute 
- particularly as Sedgwick failed to pro- 
duce a similar magnum opus despite 
repeated promises to do so. 

The publication of The Silurian System 
made public for the first time differences 


[ ■-■" A.. .-■ rem 

Fig. 2. Geological map of Wales showing the 
agreed boundary between the Cambrian and the 
Silurian systems, circa 1839 (after Secord 


of interpretation in exactly where the 
boundary lay between the Cambrian and 
Silurian. Sedgwick was surprised to find 
that certain areas that he and Murchison 
had formerly agreed were Cambrian were 
now claimed by Murchison to be Silurian. 
Initial polite disagreement over these 
minor regions soon escalated into one of 
the major geological disputes of the nine- 
teenth century - as Murchison in his publi- 
cations progressively annexed more and 
more of Sedgwick's Cambrian strata until 
little remained, 

The Cambrian-Silurian conflict 

Privately and publicly, argument and 
counter-argument took place in this pro- 
tracted debate over the next two decades as 
Murchison, gained the ascendancy in the 
debate. Early in his geological career 
Murchison was impressed by the impor- 
tance and efficacy of fossils in determining 
the age and order of the rock strata 
(although in this he had to rely on the skills 
of palaeontologists such as Lonsdale, 
Sowerby. Salter and McCoy). While he 
recognised that lithology was important, 
Murchison became increasingly conscious 
of the potential of fossils to define and cor- 
relate different rock strata. His confidence 
was strengthened when he discovered that 

Vol. 118(5)2001 


McCoy Issue 

Silurian rucks containing a recognisable 
and distinct fauna could be found. 
Sedgwick, by contrast, like the majority of 
geologists, such as Aveline, Ramsay, 
Selwyn and others of the Geological 
Survey, believed in the primacy of litholo- 
gy as a basis for identifying and delimiting 
the slraligraphical sequence. Sedgwick 
viewed fossils as a secondary tool, useful 
when other methods were unavailable, but 
not reliable as the primary instrument in 
straligraphical analysis. 

I ven though Sedgwick collected fossils 
on his field trips he admitted that although 
he knew many of them 'by sight 1 he did 
not always know them by name 
(Spcukman 1982), Many of the fossils he 
collected remained unpacked and unsortcd 
in the Cambridge Woodwardian Museum. 
Sedgwick was also at a disadvantage in the 
debate in that he was unable to establish a 
distinct fauna in the less fossiliferous 
Cambrian rocks. Instead he emphasised the 
immense thickness ot" the Cambrian strata. 
But as Murchison later declared; \..was 
the Cambrian system ever so defined, that 
a competent observer going into uninvesti- 
gated country could determine whether it 
existed there? 8 (Murchison IS52: 176; 
Kerry 1968; 87), Murchison had a point; 
while geologists could positively identify 
his characteristic Silurian fossils anywhere 
they occurred around the globe, the best 
that could be said of Sedgwick's system 
was that it was a local entity that may or 
may not have implications outside his 
study area in Wales. Murchison was free to 
claim that Sedgwick's system was merely 
an earlier extension of the Silurian. My 
1842 he was asserting that on the basis of 
the evidence gathered up until that time it 
now appeared that Sedgwick's Upper 
Cambrian fossils were identical with his 
own Lower Silurian fauna. Only a small 
section of unlbssilifcrous rocks remained 
of Sedgwick's original Cambrian (Fig. 3). 

Sedgwick argued long and hard over the 
ensuing years in order to save his system. 
He carried out more fieldwork, he exam- 
ined new areas and re-examined old ones, 
he put forward a number of new schemes, 
he invented new terminology, he was even 
willing to drop the name Cambrian alto- 
gether; however at this stage of the dispute 
he made limited progress in convincing 

^] n,. u „ ( ii.i„.,™nwi>lvln 1 itH" m « 

' j ;.i,U,,* II . -M J. . II' ■■ (IW1 

],•'■'■ I EWIMBB '..."iMi'.l.: I HI" I <■•!■■. 

} Ul'I'LH 1 

MIl'IdAh ■ .T'.. MM 


Fig. 3. Pari of an 1S43 map designed by 
Murchison lor the Society for the Diffusion of 
Useful Knowledge (after Sccord 19X6). Nolc 
thai in this map Murchison had extended the 
Silurian lo cover most of Wales. 

others of the merits of his ideas. As a result 
of Murchison placing more and more 
emphasis on fossil evidence to justify his 
system Sedgwick was forced lo take the 
palaeontological aspect of the work much 
more seriously. In 1842 he employed a 
young palaeontologist, John Salter, part- 
time, lo help process the now vast collec- 
tion o\^ fossils he had accumulated over the 
years. Salter also accompanied him on a 
number of Held trips to North Wales, col- 
lecting fossils in an attempt to clarify the 
palaeontology and even identify a discrete 
but simpler fauna than the Silurian (Secord 
1986). F.ven though they discovered some 
new fossils, there were not enough to con- 
stitute a system distinct from the Silurian. 
Salter made a promising start on catalogu- 
ing the Woodwardian Museum collection 
but left for full-time employment at the 
Geological Survey of Great Britain. This 
again left Sedgwick with the need for the 
services of a palaeontologist; Frederick 
McCoy was hired to complete the job that 
had been started by Salter. 


The Victorian Naturalist 

Part One 

Enter Frederick McCoy 

McCoy arrived at a critical stage in the 
Cambrian-Silurian debate. McCoy applied 
himself to the task of determining the fossils 
in the Museum but also inevitably became 
involved in issues related to the disagree- 
ment. It should be noted that it was not just 
Murchison and Sedgwick who had exam- 
ined the Transition strata in question. By 
1841 professional geologists of the official 
Geological Survey of (ireat Britain, who 
had just completed mapping o\' the coal- 
lleltis of South Wales, began mapping in the 
area under dispute. John Phillips. one of the 
Survey's palaeontologists, reported that, in 
die Caradoe formation which was located 
towards the bottom of Murchison's Upper 
Silurian system, there were occasional 
anomalies in which Lower Silurian fossils 
would be found mixed with Upper Silurian. 
Everyone involved, including Sedgwick, 
believed that the Caradoe was a coherent set 
of SO-called 'passage beds' positioned 
between the Silurian and the Cambrian 
which therefore could feasibly contain an 
intermediate or a mixed fauna. McCoy, 
however, began to suspect that possibly 
there were two different faunas involved, in 
deceptively conformable beds, but which 
appeared to be one lilhological unit. 

On examination of Caradoe fossils from 
a number of different localities McCov 
found that they did separate out into two 
quite different groups from some locali- 
ties the Caradoe fossils had affinities with 
the Upper Silurian, from other localities 
the Caradoe fossils had affinities with the 
Lower Silurian. This strongly suggested 
the presence of an undetected unconformi- 
ty within the Caradoe. I) McCoy was cor- 
rect, then Sedgwick finally had a decisive 
and convincing way of splitting the 
Transition strata into two natural systems. 
Sedgwick was not willing to announce 
these findings until he had confirmed them 
by examination of the Caradoe rocks in the 
field. In mid \H52 McCoy accompanied 
vick on a brief, ram-interrupted field 
trip which only allowed them to examine 
Systematically the rock sections at May 
Hill and the Malvcms, but that was enough 
to validate McCoy's findings and v indicate 
Sedgwick's Claims for a separate Cambrian 
system. In November 1K52 Sedgwick pre- 
sented his results m a paper to the 

Geological Society. Sedgwick was able to 
justify subdividing the former Caradoe for- 
mation into two new groups; the upper part 
he named the May Hill Sandstone, this was 
considered to be the base of the Silurian; 
for the lower part he retained the name 
Caradoe. designated as the top ^\' the 
Cambrian. The fossil gap between the 
Cambrian and the Silurian on this evidence 
was one of the largest breaks in the whole 
of the fossil record (Fig. 4), Sedgwick's 
explanation also correlated well with simi- 
lar findings in Palaeozoic strata in central 
Europe and America. 

The effect of Sedgwick's presentation on 
the members of the Geological Society 
was one of grave scepticism. At First they 
could not accept that the professional geol- 
ogists of the Geological Survey would not 
have noticed that such a large geological 
and p a I a e o 1 1 1 o I o g i c a I divide existed 
h e t w e e n the t w * > p ro posed s v s l e m s . 
However, further work revealed that u was 
indeed the case. McCoy had also been pre- 
sent at the meeting but interest inglv was 
not a co-author of the paper. Edward 
Forbes initially believed that McCoy had 
'cooked' the fossil evidence in order to 
please Sedgwick (Sccord 1986), The 
Survey team were in an embarrassing posi- 
tion in their detailed examination and 
mapping of the relevant strata they had not 
noticed any discontinuity in the rock 
sequence or in the fossil record. They were 
forced back cut in the Held to re-examine 
critical sections and soon discovered previ- 
ously unnoticed unconformities. 

The Survey team tried to play down the 
significance ol Sedgwick and McCoy's 
research and even suggested thai they had 
only repeated work that had already been 
carried out by Phillips ami others. Over the 
next lew years Avclinc, Salter and Ramsay 
of the Survey team, as well as Sedgwick 
and McCoy, carried out numerous field 
trips into Wales, examining rock sections. 
clarifying the identity and range of key 
groups of fbssilfi, and revising and redraw- 
ing critical boundaries on their geological 
maps. It does seem somewhat ironic that 
McCoy, who is sometimes disparaged lot 
the quality and quantity of his fieklwoik. 
happened to participate in field work 
although admittedly in the presence o\' 
Sedgwick, one of the most famous field 

Vol. 118(5)2001 


McCoy Issue 





Fig. 4. Transverse section along the banks of the River Onny showing a deceptive but definite 
unconformity between the Llandeilo and Bala rocks (Caradoc) of the Cambrian below and the over- 
lying May Hill Sandstone of the Silurian above (after Secord 1986). 

geologists of his era - that led to the eventu- 
al resolution of one of the most intraelable 
and historically significant disputes of the 
foundational period of stratigraphical 
palaeontology. All this was primarily the 
outcome of his work indoors as a "museum- 
bascd taxonomic palaeontologist'! 

Murchison, however, was not prepared lo 
concede that he had been in error. By this 
time he had gained international acclaim 
for his work on the Silurian. Murchison 
felt that his whole scientific reputation 
would be impugned if he yielded to 
Sedgwick's revised Cambrian. Indepen- 
dently wealthy. Murchison was also insti- 
tutionally in a powerful position, even 
more so after he became Director of the 
Geological Survey. Sedgwick became 
increasingly embittered at Murehison's 
unwillingness to recant, and isolated him- 
self from the Geological Society. This 
played into Murchison's hands and there 
were suggestions by members of the 
Geological Survey that Sedgwick was 
probably going senile or insane. 

McCoy's reputation, loo, suffered by asso- 
ciation. Edward Forbes satirically depicted 
Sedgwick as Don Quixote, and McCoy as 
Sancho Panza (Secord 1986). While this 
representation of Sedgwick displays a cer- 
tain respect for his moral integrity, it strong- 
ly suggests he is fighting for a hopeless 
cause and perhaps a little obsessed and a lit- 
tle mad. McCoy, by implication, is por- 
trayed as a blind, loyal subordinate who 
would do anything to please his master. One 
partial consequence of this is that McCoy 
has never received due recognition for his 
contribution to palaeontology and bios- 
tratigraphy. Murchison used his influence as 
head of the Geological Survey, and as a 
member of other organisations, to control 

the terms and direction of the debate and to 
resist any changes in nomenclature or in the 
details of the standard geological maps of 
which he did not approve. For ambitious 
younger geologists and palaeontologists' 
jobs were scarce and Murchison's patron- 
age and approval were essential if they were 
to have any real chance of obtaining a 
desired position or gaining promotion; 
McCoy w as no exception. 

As the debate progressed McCoy tried to 
distance himself from Sedgwick although 
privately he remained a steadfast support- 
er. He tried to indicate to Murchison that 
he was acting objectively and without per- 
sonal prejudice. Murchison was aware that 
McCoy was an able and self-assured 
palaeontologist, and even a dangerous one 
while he was working in league with 
Sedgwick. Hence, it suited him to give 
McCoy a glowing recommendation for the 
Foundation chair of Natural Science at the 
newly established University of 
Melbourne. Whether Murchison's testimo- 
nial was given because he believed that 
McCoy deserved the position based on 
merit, or simply because he wanted to get 
him out of the way. is difficult to say. 
However, it did have the effect of further 
isolating Sedgwick as well as removing 
McCoy from the mainstream history of 

In the years that followed, local and 
international support for the Cambrian 
grew, but Murchison died in 1871 still 
opposing any change in nomenclature. The 
debate was more or less settled with the 
inclusion of the Ordovician system by 
Lapworth in 1879. The Ordovician system 
was inserted as an intermediate system 
between the Cambrian and Silurian sys- 
tems, although it did not gain full interna- 


The Victorian Naturalist 

Part One 


1 2 

3 4 


6 7 





Middle Cambrian 







Lower Silurian 











Lower Silurian 


Lap worth 



















































Fig. 5. Some alternative classifications for the Lower Palaeozoic rocks of Britain. 1855-1879 (after 
Secord 1986). Note LapworuYs inclusion of the Ordovician as a solution to the Sedgwick-Murchison 

tional approval until I960 (Secord 1986). 
The new Ordovician encompassed 
Sedgwick's Upper Cambrian and 
Murchison's Lower Silurian, but neither 
protagonist would have been at all enam- 
oured with Lapworth's partial appropria- 
tion of their respective geological territo- 
ries (Fig. 5). 

McCoy in Melbourne 

When McCoy arrived in the Colony of 
Victoria in December 1854 as one of the 
first four professors at the University of 
Melbourne (see Wilkinson this issue) he 
was only in his early thirties and already 
an accomplished palaeontologist. Not only 
was he thoroughly familiar with Irish and 
British fossils but he also had some experi- 
ence with Australian material. In Great 
Britain he had worked on Australian fos- 
sils collected by Rev. W.B. Clarke and 
sent to Sedgwick at Cambridge. In 1847, 

he published a paper based on this work 
titled 'On the fossil botany and zoology of 
the rocks associated with the coal of 
Australia' in the Annals and Magazine of 
Natural History (see Pierson this issue). 
This familiarity with Australian fossils was 
possibly one of the factors that enticed him 
into emigrating to Australia. Soon after his 
arrival in Victoria, McCoy set about clari- 
fying issues connected with the local 
palaeontology and stratigraphy and (with 
Murchison's endorsement) was appointed 
Palaeontologist to the Geological Survey 
of Victoria in 1856. He moved quickly in 
taking over the Colony's fledgling natural 
history museum and despite some spirited 
public opposition moved it from its city 
location to the grounds of the University of 
Melbourne (Pescott 1954; Wilkinson 19%; 
Rasmussen this issue). 

Vol. 118(5)200! 


McCoy Issue 

The Global Geological Column 

In I 861 McCoy published in ihe 
Victorian Exhibition Catalogue the first 
summary of the /oology and palaeontology 
of Victoria (McCoy 1861). This paper was 
reprinted in 1862 in Ihe Annals and 
Magazine of Natural History. In the paper- 
McCoy showed that based on palaeonlo- 
logical evidence the geological column in 
Australia conformed to that of Great 
Britain, Europe and North America. For 
the first time it was confirmed that the rock 
sequences in the Southern Hemisphere, 
despite some provincialism, correlated 
with those of the Northern Hemisphere. In 
other words, the geological column as 
deciphered in Great Britain was almost 
certainly a global phenomenon. 

McCoy stated that ',.. from the great 
quantity of fossils which I have lately 
examined as Palaeontologist to the 
Geological Survey of Victoria; and from 
evidence of this kind I can offer a sketch of 
the ancient successive changes of organic 
life in this country' (McCoy 1862: 138). 
lie proceeded to discuss each of the major 
geological periods in turn. Beginning with 
die (Lower) Palaeozoic he asserted that: 
The Azoic [Precamhnan] rocks, I can now 
state, were succeeded in Victoria, exactly as 
in Wales. Sweden, North America, and 
other parts of the world in the northern 
hemisphere, by a series of rocks enclosing 
fossil remains of the well-known genera 
and even specific types of animal life char- 
acterizing those most ancient fossiliferous 
strata termed Lower Silurian by Sir R. 
Murelnson. and Cambrian by Professor 
Sedgwick (McCoy 1 862: 138). 
McCoy then went on to discuss further 
correspondences between Australian bio- 
stratigraphy and Northern Hemisphere 
biostratigraphy for the rest of the geologi- 
cal column, i.e.. the Upper Palaeozoic, 
Mesozoic, Tertiary and Recent periods. 

At the time of the 1861 publication evi- 
dence for the Cretaceous Period had not 
been positively confirmed in Australia but 
in 1865 McCoy was able "... to announce 
for the first time with certainty the exis- 
tence of the Cretaceous formations in 
Australia' (McCoy 1865: 333) based on 
fossils sent to him from Queensland that 
included bivalves, ammonites and 
Ichthyosaur vertebrae. Similarly, although 

fossils from the Devonian Period in 
Australia had been earlier identified by 
Konig and Stutehbury their status 
remained uncertain. In a paper prepared for 
the 1866-67 Melbourne Intercolonial 
Exhibition (McCoy 1867a) and reprinted 
in the Annals and Magazine of Natural 
History in 1867 McCoy claimed that he 
had definitely confirmed the presence of 
the Devonian in Australia based on marine 
fossils from Buchan in Gippsland. McCoy 

It is with great pleasure I announce the fact 
of my having been able satisfactorily to 
determine the existence of this formation 
also in Australia, the limestone of Buchan 
in Gippsland containing characteristic 
corals, Plaeodermalous fish, and abundance 
of the Spirifcra /acvicostala, perfectly iden- 
tical with specimens from the Luropean 
Devonian Limestones of the Lifcl (McCoy 
1867b: 198). 
For McCoy, the confirmation of these for- 
mations filled in the remaining major gaps 
in the geological record for Australia and 
demonstrated that there was an almost 
complete correspondence between north- 
em hemisphere and southern hemisphere 

A shortened version of this paper was 
also made available for a North American 
audience and published in The American 
Journal of Science and Arts edited by 
Benjamin Silliman and James Dana 
(McCoy 1867c: 279-282). When dis- 
cussing the Cambrian he reiterated: 

... we have in these formations the most 
extraordinary proof of the unexpected fact 
which I announced on a former occasion, 
that there was in ihe Cambrian or Lower 
Silurian period a nearly complete specific 
uniformity of the marine faunas, not only 
over the whole northern hemisphere, but 
across the tropics, extending to this remote 
temperate latitude of the southern hemi- 
sphere (McCoy IS67e: 280), 
In his conclusion to both of the above 
papers McCoy reminded the reader that he 
had been instrumental in contributing to 
the solution of the Cambrian-Silurian 
debate and that exactly the same geologi- 
cal situation prevailed in Australia as in 
deal Britain. McCoy concluded: 

I can scarcely close ... without drawing 
attention to the curious confirmation offered 


The Victorian Naturalist 

Part One 

in Victorian geology of the view o( 
Professor Sedgwick and myself, that there 
was a real systematic line of division 
between the Upper Silurian and the 
Cambrian and Lower Silurian, at the base of 
the Mayhill Sandstone and over the 
Caradoc Sandstone the May lull 

Sandstone, which we first defined and 
demonstrated to have Upper-Silurian fossils 
only, and the true Caradoc Sandstone full 
exclusively of Lower-Silurian or Cambrian 
types... The Mayhill Sandstone was one of 
the first formations I recognized, on landing 
near Melbourne, with the usual Upper- 
Silurian fossils: and it is now found here, as 
in Wales, to be slightly unconformable to 
the Cambrian or Lower Silurian, forming 
the obvious base o^ the former and totally 
distinct [in fossils] from the latter (McCoy 
1867b; 201-202; McCoy 1867c: 282). 
Of course it should be acknowledged that 
McCoy's claims for the correlation of the 
Australian stratigraphy with Northern 
Hemisphere stratigraphy were based not 
only on his own work but also built on the 
earlier work of other geologists, particular- 
ly collections by T.L. Mitchell, L. 
Lcichhardt, P.E. Strzclecki. LB. Jukes, 
W.B. Clarke, 5. Stutchbury and others 
(Vallance 1975; Branagan 1998). Many of 
the early fossils found in Australia were 
sent to Britain, Europe and America for 
identification by palaeontologists such as 
William Lonsdale, John Morris. Richard 
Owen, James Dana, Edouard de Verncuil. 
Laurent de Koninck and Alcide tTOrbigny, 
and, indeed, McCoy himself Nevertheless, 
it was McCoy who was the first to publish 
a synthesis, indicating that he was the first 
to fully grasp the broader implications of 
the local geology, palaeontology and 
stratigraphy and place it in a global con- 
text. Few people could have been better 
prepared than McCoy to appreciate the 
Australian stratigraphy and be able to 
relate it back to the Northern Hemisphere 
situation. As Sedgwick's assistant, he had 
played a subordinate but vital role in 
examining fossil evidence and relating it to 
the structure and lithology of a geological 
formation or region. 

There was another factor in McCoy's 
readiness to fit Australian geology into a 
larger framework. He was attempting to 
defend a "progressionist' but non-evolu- 

tionary view of the world. McCoy's geo- 
logical view of the earth, like his mentor 
Adam Sedgwick's, was more compatible 
with classical Cuvcrian catastrophistn than 
with Lyellian uniformitarianism. McCoy 
was staunchly anti-Darwinian and believed 
in successive progressive 'creations'; for 
example, in the 1862 paper when he 
speaks of the change from the Mcsozoic to 
the Tertiary, he states: 

... we find that here, as in Europe, the 
greater part of the country sank under the 
sea during the Tertiary period, and every 
trace of the previous creations of plants and 
animals was destroyed and replaced by a 
totally different new set. both of plants and 
animals, more nearly related to those now 
occupying the land and sea of the country 
lMcCo> 1862: 144). 
McCoy viewed these postulated successive 
creations in global terms. 

One of the main motivations for publish- 
ing his findings on the Australian stratigra- 
phy was to counter the argument 
(advanced by 4 transmutationists* and 
'materialists' such as T.H. Huxley and oth- 
ers) that evolution occurred at highly vari- 
able rates in different regions of the globe 
and that Australia was. in effect, an evolu- 
tionary backwater. This was a view that 
had gained credence ever since the time o\' 
Lamarck, with the discovery of the bivalve 
Trigoftia in Australian waters (Fig. 6) and 
of various marsupials which were long 
since extinct in Europe. By demonstrating 
the universality of the geological column 
McCoy demolished that argument. 
Unfortunately for McCoy this induction 
only helped prepare the way for the accep- 
tance of gradual transmutation or evolution 
of organic species. 


Frederick McCoy made a significant con- 
tribution towards summarizing and clarify- 
ing the Australian stratigraphy based on 
his northern hemisphere experience, lie 
was the first to demonstrate that the 
Australian geology and stratigraphy corre- 
lated well with lhat of the northern hemi- 
sphere - contrary to the standard European 
view. Debate has continued until the pre- 
sent day on just how complete the correla- 
tions actually are. It appears that McCoy 
was largely ignored by the British eslab- 

Vol. 118 (5) 2001 


McCoy Issue 



Fig. 6. Illustration of the bivalve Trigonia actitieostata McCoy (now Neotrigonfa actitieostata) com- 
paring it to the previously known Trigonia Lamarcki showing the acute ribs and tubercles of T actiti- 
eostata in contrast to the broad flattened ribs and tubercles of T. Lamarcki, McCoy identified and 
described several new species of Trigonia. Trigonia was previously known only from Mesozoie for- 
mations and in the living state in Australian waters but was unknown in the Tertiary. McCoy was 
pleased to declare that he had filled that particular gap in the fossil record. In his Prodromus of the 
Palaeontology of Victoria. Decade 2 (1875) he wrote, "Being enabled to announce the discovery of 
three distinct species of Trigonia from the Pliocene and Miocene Tcrtiaries near Melbourne clears 
away this supposed exception to a general Palaeontologies! law, and cannot fail to be welcome, not 
only to geologists generally, but to the biologists engaged with the large question of the succession 
of life on our globe.' 

lishment in his day, and his contribution 
has gone almost entirely unnoticed and 
unacknowledged by historians. 

The magnitude of McCoy's achievement 
is perhaps not fully appreciated today 
because the global geological column is 
now taken for granted. The realization that 
the southern continent was geologically 
compatible with Europe and America was 
an important confirmation of the uniformi- 
ty of nature and the universality of geolog- 
ical phenomena. McCoy's anti-evolution- 
ary stance, which he shared with such 
luminaries as Sedgwick and Murchison, is 
another reason that his scientific achieve- 
ments have not been widely appreciated. 
Many of these figures have been either 
harshly dealt with by historians, or dis- 
missed and ignored. 

Because of his extensive commitments as 
Director of the National Museum, 
Professor of Natural Science at the 
University of Melbourne, and numerous 
other duties, McCoy never approached the 
prodigious output that he achieved in Great 
Britain. Funding difficulties and bureau- 

cratic and political complications also con- 
tributed to delays in publication. Work on 
his Prod ramus of the Palaeontology of 
Victoria, published serially from 1874 lo 
1882, was actually started in 1858 - the 
series remained unfinished with the sev- 
enth issue. (His Prodromus of the Zoology 
of Victoria was published in twenty issues 
between 1878 and 1890.) 

The breadth of McCoy's contributions lo 
palaeontology and modern zoology, his 
scientific, philosophical and theological 
activities directed at the public, and his 
administration of public institutions and 
societies, have made McCoy a difficult 
individual to grapple with. This difficulty 
should not blind us to the fact that in his 
day he was an eminent authority and made 
lasting contributions not only locally but to 
world science generally, lie was one of the 
pioneering figures of international 
palaeontology and bioslratigraphy, and 
until the arrival on the local scene of Ralph 
Tate and Robert Etheridge, Jnr. (Vallance 
1978; 247) he was Australia's leading 
palaeontologist and arguably 'the acknowl- 


The Victorian Naturalist 

Part One 

edaed chief of the scientific world of 
Australasia' (Woodward 1899: 283). 


1 am indebted to Professor Neil Archbold for 
numerous discussions on McCoy's life and 
work and for his encouragement. Thanks also to 
Nicole Dominic for reproducing and reworking 
many of the illustrations. 


Bern. W.B.N. (1968). 'Growth of a Prehistoric Time 
Scale, Based on Organic EI volution'- (W.H. Freeman: 
San francisco and London. ) 

Branagan. D.F. (1998a> Geological Periodization. In 
'Sciences of the Earth: An Encyclopedia of Events, 
People and Phenomena'. Vol I. pp. 306-3 14, Ed. G, 
Good. (Garland Publishing: New York and London.) 

Branagan, D.I". U99xb). The Pole and the Permian. 
Proceedings of the Royal Society of Victoria 110. I- 

Darragh. T.A. (1992). Frederick McCoy. Fossil 
Collector Bulletin 36, 15-22. 

Fendley. G.C. <i%9). Sir Frederick McCoy (1817- 
1899). Australian Dictionary of Biography 1851- 
18905! 134-136. 

Gohau. G. (1990). 'A History of Geology'. (Rutgers 
University Press; New Brunswick and London.) 

Herries Davies, G L. ( I9B3). Sheets of Manv Colours: 
The Mapping of Ireland's Rocks 1750-1 890" I Royal 
Dublin Society: Dublin.) 

McCoy, F. ( 1844). "A Synopsis of the Characters of the 
Carboniferous Limestone Fossils of Ireland'. (Dublin 
University Press: Dublin.) 

McCoy. F. (1846). "A Synopsis of the Silurian fossils 
oflreland'. (Dublin University Piess: Dublin. i 

MlCow I-. (1847). On the Fossil Botany anil Zoology 
of the Rocks Associated With the Coal of Australia 
Annals and Magazine of Satitral History 20 145- 
157 226-236, 298-312. 

McCoy, F. < 1861 ). On the Ancient and Recent Natural 
History of Victoria. In 'Catalogue of the Victorian 
Exhibition, 1861: With prefatory essays indicating 
the Progress. Resources, and Physical Characteristics 
of the Colony*, pp. 159-174. (Government Printer. 

McCoy, F. (1862), Note on the Ancient and Recent 
Natural History of Victoria. Annals and Maga '"< Oj 
Natural History, Series3, 9. 137-150. 

McCoy. F. (1865). Note on the Cretaceous deposits ol 
Australia. Annals and Magazine ol Natural History 
Series I 16,333-334 

McCoy. F. (1867a). On the Recent Zoology and 
Palaeontology of Victoria. In ■Intercolonial 
Exhibition of 'Australasia, Melbourne. 1866-67 
Official Record, containing introduction, catalogues, 
reporls and awards of the Jurors, and essays and sta- 
tistics on the social and economic resources of the 
Australasian Colonies', pp. 309-330. (Blundcll & 
Co.: Melbourne.) 
.1, < .,. I | |B67b). On the Recent /oology and 
Palaeontology of Victoria. Annals and Magazine <>t 
Natural history. Series 3, 20. 175-202. 

McCoy. F. (1867c). On the Palaeontology of Victoria. 
South [sic] Australia. American Journal of Science 
and \m 44, 279-282. 

McCoy, F. ( 1874-1882). Prodromus of the 

Palaeontology of Victoria. (George Robertson: 

Melbourne and Trubner & Co: London.) 
McCoy. F. (1878-1890). Prodromus of the Zoology of 

Victoria. (George Robertson: Melbourne and Trubner 

& Co: London.) 
Murchison. R.I. (1852). On the Meaning of the Term 

"Silurian System" as Adopted by Geologists in 

Various Countries During the Last Ten Years. 

Quarterly Journal ol the Geological Society of' 

l,ondvnfL, 173-1 84. 
Peseott. R.T.M. (1954). 'Collections of a Century; The 

History of the First Hundred Years of the National 

Museum of Victoria'. (National Museum of Victoria: 

Rudwick, M..I. (1975). Adam Sedgwick. Dictionary of 

Scientific Biography 12. 275-279. Ed. C. Gillispie 

(Charles Scribner'S Sons; New York.) 
Secord, .LA. (1986). •Controversy in Victorian 

Geology: I he Cambrian-Silurian Dispute'. 

(Princeton University Press: Princeton.) 
Sedgwick., A. (1831). Address, On Announcing the 

1 irsi Award of the Wollasion Prize. Proceedings oj 

the Geological Society Oj London I, 270-274. 
SedgvMtk. A and McCoy. I . (1855). 'A Synopsis of 

the British Palaeozoic Rocks and Fossils'. 

(Cambridge University Press: Cambridge.) 
Sedgwick. "A. and Murchison, R.I. (183*>). On the 

Silurian and Cambrian Systems, Inhibiting the < >rdcr 

in Which the Older Sedimentary Stratified Simla 

Succeed Each Other in Lngland and Wales. British 
\woiitttton for the Advancement of Science, 1835 

Report. Part 2. 59-61. 
Speakman. C 1 1982). 'Adam Sedgwick. Geologist and 

Dalesman. 1785-1873: A Biography in Twelve 

Themes" (Broad Oak Press: Heatlifield. I as! 

Stafford. R. A. ( I9x«t 'Scientist of Empire Sn 

Roderick Murchison. Scientific Exploration and 

Victorian Imperialism' (Cambridge University 

Press: Cambridge I 
Vallance. I.G. (1975) Origins of Australian < ieology. 

Proceedings oj //'■■ Linnean Society of \cw South 

Wales 100. 13-43, 
Vallance. T.G (1978). Pioneers and leaders a 

Record of Australian Palaeontology in the Nineteenth 

I entup.. ileheringa 2, 243-250, 
Wilkinson. I. (1996)- The Bailie for the Museum: 

Frederick McCoy and the Establishment of the 

National Museum of Victoria at the University of 

Melbourne. Historical Records of Australian Seicncc 

11. I-II. 
Woodward. H. (1899). Obituary Professor Sir 

I R'denek Mc<" ov. Geological Magazine. New series. 

Decade -A 6. 283-287. 
Wyse Jackson, P.N. and Monaghan. N I (1994). 

Frederick M Coy: An Fminent Victorian 

Palaeontologist and his Synopsis of Irish 

Palaconlology of 1H44 and 1846 Geology today 10. 

Zittcl. K.A von. (1901; Reprinted 1962). 'History of 

Geology and Palaeontology to the Fnd of the 

Nineteenth Century'. (Walter Scott: London.) 

Vol. 118(5)2001 


\lt( oy issue 

Frederick McCoy and the Phylum Brachiopoda 

N.W. Archbold 1 


Sir Frederick McCoy, during ;i long career involved with taxonomy, contributed extensively to the 
knowledge of' the fossil record of the Phylum Brachiopoda. From his classic early monographs on 
the fossil faunas of the Carboniferous and Silurian of Ireland, to his later works in Victoria where 
important new species were described and illustrated, McCoy demonstrated the same care, meticu- 
lous rigour and quality of illustrations that typified all his work. His contributions on the 
Brachiopoda are of high and long-lasting significance but form only part of his much broader contri- 
bution to palaeontology. {Tin- Victorian Naturalist 118 (5). 2001. 178-185.) 


R c p re sent ati v e s of t h e p li y I u rn 
Brachiopoda are, as most recently defined 
by Williams ei al. (2000), 'solitary, 
marine, bivalved, coelomate invertebrates 
bilaterally symmetrical about median plane 
normal to surface of separation between 
valves; shell orgauophosphatic or 
organoearbonale, attached to substrate by 
muscular stalk (pedicle) or euticular pad or 
secondarily cemented or Tree and com- 
posed of commonly larger ventral (pedicle) 
valve and dorsal (brachial) valve lined by 
[\Ma\ extensions (mantle) of body wall 
pervaded by eanaliferous extensions of 
eoclom ... feeding organ lopbophore ... 
disposed and suspended between mantles; 
alimentary canal with or without anus ... 
circulatory (haemal) system open ... 
coelom sehi/ocoelie or enteroeoelie; most- 
ly dioecious'. The phylum is well defined 
and in the latest classification scheme, 
based on a cladisttc approach, is divided 
into three subphyla: the Linguliformea (the 
lingulids'), the Craniiformea (the 'erani- 
uls'l and the RhynehoneUiformea (bra- 
chiopods with articulated calcite shells). 
Investigations based on the brachiopod 
genome indicate that 'the traditional sys- 
tem of two brachiopod classes appears to 
be valid' (Cohen and Gawthorp 1997). The 
traditional system refers to the recognition 
oi' two classes within the phylum - the 
I na rt i c u I a t a a n d the Art i e u 1 a t a . 
Brachiopods first appeared in the geologi- 
cal record during the Early Cambrian and 
the phylum has living representatives 
today. They were dominant in the shallow 
marine benthouie environments of the 

School nt" I cology and Environment, Deakiri 
University, R-usden Campus, Ctoyton, Victoria 3168. 

Email narchie^ 

Palaeozoic lira, suffered a catastrophic 
extinction at the end of the Permian 
Period, rebounded somewhat in the 
Triassie Period but progressively dimin- 
ished during the Meso/oic Era. The 
Cenozoic Era brachiopod faunas are 
restricted but genera are relatively plenti- 
ful. Living forms, usefully divided into 
'generalise and 'specialist' genera, can 
dominate ecological niches and communi- 
ties (Richardson 1997). Close to 
Melbourne, in Western Port, shallow 
marine benthouie communities can be 
dominated by the brachiopod species 
Magellan ia Jlawsccns ( Lamarck ). 

Given the above, it is scarcely surprising 
that during his long palaeonlologieal 
career. Frederick McCoy was to appreciate 
the value of the phylum in the fossil 
record. He described many species and a 
number of genera during his lifetime. The 
present review considers his career in three 
countries (Ireland, England and Australia) 
and, while he described few brachiopods 
during his long time in Australia, he never- 
theless still appreciated the value of the 
phylum for dating sedimentary sequences, 
Tate (1893: 27) was to note that 'the rapid 
unfolding of the geological structure of 
Victoria ... (was) aided by the palaeonto- 
Logical determination s o f P vo f e SSOT 
McCoy'. An excellent history of the classi- 
fication of the phylum Brachiopoda has 
been provided by Muir-Wood ( 1 955). 


The young Frederick McCoy (Fellow of 
the Geological Society. Dublin) set to 
work with vigour on the extensive 
Carboniferous Limestone System fossil 
collections made by Richard Griffith (later 


The Victorian Naturalist 

Pari One 

Sir) and friends, so that by 1841 much of 
the work had been completed. He was to 
describe upwards of four hundred and fifty 
new species of fossil organisms. After 
much of the work had been printed off, be 
was to receive a copy of parts I to 12 o\\\c 
koninck's ( 1842) work on the 
Carboniferous of Belgium. The appearance 
of de Koninck's work required McCoy to 
add a note to his own work in order to clar- 
ify l he minor overlap between the two 
monographs. McCoy's work appeared in 
1844 and included, in modern taxonomic 
terms, fossil Cephalopoda, Gastropoda, 
Bivalvia. Conulata. Brachiopoda. Trilobita. 
Ostracoda. Annelida, lichinodermata. 
Coelenterata and Bryozoa, This list serves 
to indicate the breadth of his abilities at 
taxonomie research at such a young age. 

McCoy's treatment of the Brachiopoda in 
his Carboniferous monograph commences 
with a succinct review of prior classifica- 
tions and discusses in detail those pro- 
posed by von Buch (1834) and Phillips 
(1841). He then discusses the function and 
arrangement of (he living components of 
the brachiopod organism and agreed that 
the 'tubular arms' of the brachiopod 
(lophophore as now used) 'served the ani- 
mal for securing its prey*. McCoy's classi- 
fication of the Brachiopoda included five 
families as follows: 

1. Delthyridae. or spmfers: 

2. Athyridae, orproductas: 

3. Orbiculidac, the orbiculas: 

4. Terebralulidae, true terebratulas; and 

5. Pentameridae. chambered brachiopods. 
It is of interest thai he excluded Littgula 

from the 'true Brachiopoda" - perhaps a 
forerunner in the argument for two distinct 
classes? lie proceeded to describe species 
of the Orbiculidac (genus Orbieuia only), 
the Athyridae (genera Crania, Caiceota, 
Product a, Leptagonitt, Leptaena and 
Orfhisl), the Delthyridae (genera Spirifera 
including the subgenera Cyrtia and Fusclla 
- Martinia. Athyris, Brachvthvns and 
Orthis). Reticularis and Actinoconckus 
were also included in the Delthyridae. The 
final descriptions were of the Terebratulidae 
(genera Atrypa and Semimtla). The genus 
Orthis was included by McCoy in his clas- 
sification of the Delthyridae although the 
species attributed to the genus were includ- 
ed under the Athyridae in the text (1844). 

His ideas on the position of the genus are 
clear and it can be speculated that the 
species descriptions were included in the 
incorrect place in the text during typeset- 
ting of the book. 

McCoy (1844) analysed in meticulous 
detail the interior structure of the (JorsaJ 
valve of productions. He interpreted what 
are now known as the dorsal adductor 
muscle sears as being modifications of the 
'spiral appendages of Spirifcr' . The 
brachial ridges were interpreted ;is being 
'the principal pair of adductors'. Although 
he confused the two sets of structures, he 
anticipated the description of the 
sehi/olophe and ptycholophous styles of 
lophophore. lie noted that in those bra- 
chiopods which have the dorsal valve fiat, 
'the arms are coiled so that their bases rest 
on its surface ... are always \~wcd ... to the 
internal face of the ventral |now dorsal] 
valve, and project but slightly from it'. 

McCoy ( 1 S44) provided synopses and 
distinguishing characters for 23 I species of 
Irish Carboniferous brachiopods of which 
60 were newly diagnosed. All new species. 
except two, were illustrated, a large num- 
ber of the illustrations were 'entirely from' 
McCoy's 'own pencil, and the others have 
been most carefully corrected, both as to 
outline, measurements, and effect, by my 
OWB hand' (McCoy 1X44: \ ). 

By May 1X45, McCoy had completed his 
Synopsis of the Silurian fossils of Ireland 
(1846) which was to include 96 species of 
brachiopods of which 29 were new. The 67 
previously described species were not fig- 
ured and no diagnoses were provided - 
only localities were listed with references 
to previous authors. As with his previous 
Synopsis, fossil representatives of some 12 
phyla in modern terms were described in 
total. All figures were drawn by McCoy 
but he noted (hat the details on the litho- 
graphic plates 'had become effaced 
through absorption', and that he was 
unable to supervise directly (he production 
of the lithographs. 

It would appear then, that by the age of 
2}. Frederick McCoy was the author of 
two major monographs (1X44. 1846) and 
several minor works (Darragh I992). It is 
clear from the references cited by McCoy 
that he possessed an excellent knowledge 
of earlier and contemporary palacontologi- 

Vol. 118(5)2001 


McCoy Issue 

cal literature. With respect to the literature 
on Brachiopoda, he was clearly familiar 
with the publications of British and conti- 
nental European workers. The works of 
authors such as William Martin (1809). 
James Sowerby (1812). James de Carle 
Sowerby (1823), and John Phillips (1836, 
1 tS4 1 ) in England were often quoted and 
their species recognised. Works from 
Sweden (Dalman 1828), Belgium (dc 
Koninck 1842), Germany (von Buch 1834, 
1838, 1842; von Schlottheim 1813, 1820: 
note the two spellings of Schlottheim in 
the references provided herein both arc 
correct) and the Russian Empire (Pander 
1830; Fischer von Waldheim 1837) were 
widely utilised as were many others. 
Sedgwick was to note in 1852 (Sedgwick 
1855: xvt) that he considered McCoy to 
*bc one of the very best palaeontologists in 
Europe' and that not one of Sedgwick's 
friends had 'so large an historical know- 
ledge of foreign works on Palaeontology". 
Not only did McCoy have a deep know- 
ledge of the literature but it must be noted 
that his illustrations of new species were 
also of exceptional quality for their time. 
They were as accurately drawn as possible, 
usually showing the imperfections of the 
specimens and were less simplified (c.f. 
Phillips 1836, 1841) or idealised (c.f. de 
Koninck 1842) than those of other authors 
(see and compare Figs 1 and 2 herein). It is 
noteworthy that von Zittel (1901; 451) 
considered that the works of de Koninck, 
McCoy and Phillips were 'still the basis of 
all European research on the faunas of the 
Carboniferous Limestone*. 


After a brief stint at the Geological 
Survey of Ireland (May 1 845-Septcmbcr 
1846), McCoy joined Adam Sedgwick at 
Cambridge University for what was to 
become a three year appointment in order 
to arrange the British and Foreign palacon- 
tological collections as preserved in the 
Woodwardian Museum (Sedgwick 1855; 
Darragh 1992). 

It would appear that his first task was to 
describe and illustrate fossils from the Late 
Palaeozoic of the Sydney Basin, sent to 
Sedgwick by W.B. Clarke of Sydney 
(McCoy 1847, 1 85 Id). The Clarke collec- 
tions included what are now known to be 

Fig. I. Representative illustrations of bra- 
chiopods available to Frederick McCoy for his 
classic studies of the 1840s. Original nomencla- 
ture of authors preserved. A, Hvstcrolites hyster- 
icus (van Schlothcim 1820, pi. 29, figs la. b) B, 
Spin fern triangularis Sowerby (Phillips 1836, 
pi. 9, fig, 12). C, Spirifcra convoluta (Phillips 
1836, pi. 9, fig. 7). D. Prvducta punctata 
Sowerby, (Phillips [836, pi. 8, fig. 10). E T F, 
Spirifcra fusijortnis Sowerby in Phillips 1836, 
pi. 9, figs 10, 1 1. G, Producta setosa Phillips 
1836, pi, 8. fig. 9. H, I. Spirifcr striattts Martin 
(de Koninck 1842, pi. 16, figs 3a, b). J, Spirifcr 
atlenuatus Sowerby (de Koninck 1842, pi. 16, 
fig, 21). K, L, Producius suhiaevts (de Koninck 
1842, pi. 10, figs Id. c). All figures x 0.5. 

true Carboniferous and true Permian 
species of brachiopods. Some 25 species of 
brachiopods are recorded. As was typical 
Of McCoy\s style, specimens assigned to 
previously described species were neither 
described nor figured but locality data 
were provided. New species, nine in num- 
ber, were diagnosed and illustrated. As 
with previous works the drawings were by 
McCoy and are of an excellent quality (Fig. 
2). These collections were to play a crucial 
role in the subsequent debate between 
McCoy and Clarke over the age of the New 


The Victorian Naturalist 

Part One 

South Wales coal measures and those of 
Victoria, as well as the recognition of 
Permian rocks in eastern Australia in gen- 
eral (see Vallance 1981: Archbold 1986). 

The idea of a work on the British 
Palaeozoic fossils in the Cambridge 
Museum was not part of McCoy's original 
appointment but came about in 1 849 at the 
personal request of Sedgwick (1855: vii). 
Later that same year. McCoy was elected 
to a Professorship at Queen's College, 
Belfast. McCoy was to continue the work 
on the Cambridge collections part-time 
over several years. Indeed, he and 
Sedgwick were to enjoy eight years' work- 
ing together 'without a moment's abate- 
ment of mutual good- will' (Sedgwick 
1855: xvi). Sedgwick went on to record 
'that in the list of those whom I have 
rejoiced to call my friends there has not 
been one more single-minded, more truth- 
loving and honourable than Professor 
McCoy*. McCoy, for his part, published 
only short papers on his progressive results 
prior to the three large fasciculi of the total 
volume (Sedgwick and McCoy 1855). 
Three short papers (McCoy 1851a. b, 
1852a) documented 20 new Cambro- 
Silurian species, 4 new Devonian species 
and I 1 new Carboniferous species of bra- 
chiopods respectively. The bulk of the 
species of brachiopods and the illustrations 
of the new species were leti for the illus- 
trated fasciculi (McCoy 1851c. 1852b. 
1855). Sedgwick ( 1855: v-vi) was to express 
some concern over the fact that his name 
was on the title page of McCoy's massive 
work. He noted that he had 'not been a per- 
fectly free agent in the matter', but that the 
Syndics of Cambridge University Press had 
made it a 'positive condition (arising out of 
existing regulations)". 

In the second fasciculus (1852b). within 
the class Palliobranchiata. McCoy recog- 
nised two orders. Within the first order. 
Rudisles. he included the family Thecidac 
(a group of true brachiopods). and within 
his second order, Brachiopoda, he included 
1 I families: Craniadae, Orbiculidac, 
Terebratulidac. Magasidae, Spiriferidae, 
Uncitidac, Rhynchonellidae, Orthisidae, 
Productidac, Calceolidae and the 
Lingulidae. Me described just over 20 new 
species and several varieties from the 
'Cambro-Silurian' (c.f McCoy 1851a) and 

recorded over ninety additional species 
from this age group. From the Devonian 
only four species were new out of a total 
record of 26 species. In the second fascicu- 
lus, McCoy (1852b: 191) endeavoured to 
clarify the confusion over the names of the 
two valves of the brachiopod shell. As he 
had succinctly summarised in his short 
paper (1852a: 391): 'As the terms "dorsal 
and ventral" have been almost invariably 
misapplied by conchological writers in 
describing brachiopods. and as the confu- 
sion is very great when we use these terms 
in accordance with their anatomical posi- 
tion (but contrary to common use). I pro- 
pose to use "receiving valve" for the perfo- 
rated valve of Terebratuia, &e. (called 
"dorsal valve" by conchologists and "ven- 
tral valve" by anatomists), and 1 use 
'"entering valve" for the opposite one, of 
which the beak enters the cavity of the 
receiving valve'. In modern terminology, 
the entering valve is the dorsal valve and 
the receiving valve is the ventral valve. 

The third fasciculus (1855) was to 
include some 1 15 species and varieties of 
which about a do/en were new (c.f. 1 852a) 
for the Carboniferous and Permian. 
McCoy, therefore, had a wide experience 
of the phylum from throughout the 
Palaeozoic Era. which was to assist in 
using the phylum for age determination 
when he was to relocate to Victoria. All of 
McCoy's short papers on newly recognised 
fossil species in the Cambridge collections 
were brought together and published in 
book form (McCoy 1854). 

Early in his work on the Cambridge col- 
lections. McCoy was to determine the 
functional morphology of the musculature 
of the brachiopod. This was published by 
Woodward (1851) who neither claimed the 
discovery nor attributed it to any other 
author. Sedgwick (1855: xi-xii) argued 
lengthily that McCoy was the discoverer of 
the functional arrangement (McCoy 
1852b). From Sedgwick's account, it 
appears that McCoy determined the func- 
tion in 1848 or early 1849 and widely 
shared the discovery with those palaeontol- 
ogists who were interested in it. Smith 
(1987) has made much of the argument 
between Woodward and McCoy but does 
not refer to Sedgwick's account. Smith 
(1987: 87), when writing of McCoy's clas- 

Vol. 118(5)2001 


Mci OV Issue 

Fig. 2. Representative illustrations ofbrachiopods by Frederick McCoy from 1844 to 1877. Original 
nomenclature of McCoy preserved, A, Producta corrugata McCoy IS44, pi. 20, fig. 13- B, C, 
Leptaena sulcata McCoy 1-844, pi 20, fig. 6. I), E, Spirifer clatkrota McCoy 1X44, pi. 19, fig. 9, r. 
Leptagonia wmiovaUiL McCoy 1846, pi. V fig. 6. C, Atrypa serrate McCoy 1846, pi. 3, fig. 29. H. 
Spirifera duodecimcostata McCoy 1847, pi. 17, fig. 2. 1. Leptaena tenuisshnestriaia McCoy 1851c, 
pi, IH. figs 44, ■I4;i-c. -I- / t'f'tni'ui uruhitit McCoy IS51c, pi. Ill, fig. 38. K. L, Spirifera grandicosta* 
ta McCoy 1355, pi. ID, figs 29, 29b. M. Leptaena (Chonetes) polita McCoy 1855>pL 3D, fig. 30. N. 
ll'ttlJht'iniiu COriOensiS McCoy 1877, pi. 43, fig. I. (), Trcnmtaspira iinplcura McCoy 1877, pi. 46. 
fig. 3b. P. Spirifera lapvicoxta Valenciennes. (McCoy 187ft, pi. 35, fig. 2). All figures * 0.8. 


The Victorian Naturalist 

Part One 

sifted and arranged fossils, accused 
McCoy of v a high-handed but probably 
justified proceeding' in that McCoy 'attrib- 
uted the identification of about half of 
them to himself. The statistics for the 
Brachiopoda. as outlined above, do not 
support this assertion. 

By 1X54 McCoy was clearly one of the 
leading palaeontologists of Europe; his 
speciality was the fossil record of the 
Palaeozoic Era, With this background he 
was to find rich new fields in Victoria, 
Australia, although his further contribu- 
tions to the study o\' Brachiopoda were to 
be relatively minor. 


McCoy arrived in Melbourne late in I 85 I 
and after taking up his position of Professor 
of Natural Science at the new University ot" 
Melbourne he also became Palaeontologist 
to the Geological Survey in 1856 and 
Director oi' the National Museum of 
Victoria in 1 858 (Darragh 1992). 

These three responsibilities and his sub- 
sequent broader role of describing and 
curating the living world (minus Botany, 
which was the responsibility oi' Ferdinand 
von Mueller) as well as the fossil world, 
dispersed his energies. His contributions to 
the study of braehiopods were relegated to 
their use in stratigraphical dating and, after 
some 20 years in Victoria, the publication 
of descriptions of a small number of 
Palaeozoic and Tertian species. 

McCoy wrote little in his first few years 
in Victoria but the brachiopod 
Rhynchonellu featured in his Prefatory 
Essay (1861: 166; 1862: 144) in reference 
t o M e s o / o i c m a r i n e fa u n a fr o m 
Wollumbilla Creek, Queensland. McCoy's 
identification had also been announced by 
Clarke (1862: 245) as well as the identifi- 
cation by McCoy of Permian brachiopod 
fossils (two very like Productus ealva. 
Sow., and one allied to Aulostegcs or 
Strophalosia) from the Mantuan Downs 
now known to be a true Permian area in the 
Bowen Basin. The latlers 'great resem- 
blance to common European Magnesian 
Limestone and Zechslem species 1 was 
noted by McCoy when he published an 
account of the Queensland fossils (McCo) 
identified in 1 86 1 but published 1 865). 

McCoy's later summary of Victorian 
palaeontology (McCoy lK67a, b) provided 

several brachiopod identifications. From 
the 'Cambro-Siluriatf (McCoy recognised 
a lower graptolite facies and a sandy, 
marly and mud-stone facies) he recorded 
Siphonotreta micula McCoy (from the 
graptolite beds) and Strophomena, 
Leptagonia depresses Spirifera reticularis^ 
and Orthis elegantula. from the l Upper 
Silurian' he also recorded liciniihvris 
diodonta D aim an and Pentamerus aits- 
trails McCoy. From the Devonian Buchan 
Limestone he recorded Spirifera laevi- 
eostata. The Brachiopoda of the Tertiary 
(Oligo-Mioeenc) beds, "although not very 
abundant, present many representative and 
peculiar forms ... with ... another certainly 
identical with the very rare Rhynchonella 
lucida Gould, found Living in the sea of 
Japan' (McCov I867b: I95). 

Darragh (1992; 2i)) noted that in 1S5S 
Met. ov commenced a project to describe 
and illustrate the Victorian fossil and liv- 
ing fauna. Lithographic plates of fossils 
were produced in the late 1850s by Ludwig 
Becker, but publication did not commence 
until 1874 when the first decade of the 
Prodromus oj the Pala&ontotogy of 
Victoria appeared. Publication ceased with 
the publication of decade 7 in I NK2. It 
appears unjust to argue that 'the record of 
his research" was 'hardly remarkable 1 for 
his Inst two decades in Victoria when 
financial restraints were presumably to 
blame for the lack o\' publications (c.f, 
Vallanec 1978: 247). Brachiopod descrip- 
tions were published in Decades 4 and 5 
(McCoy 1876, 1S77). Devonian bra- 
ehiopods Spirifera luevicosta (Valen- 
ciennes) and Choneies australis McCoy 
were described in 1876. Tertiary hra- 
chiopods (Waldheimia corioensis McCoy. 
Waldheimia macropora McCoy) and 
Silurian braehiopods (Leptaena 
[Leptagonia] rhomboidalis Wilckens, 
Trematospira (iopleura McCoy. I'rema- 
tospira formosa Hall, Spirifera plicatella 
var. macropleura Conrad. Spirifera sulcata 
Hisingcr. Spirigerina reticularis Linnaeus. 
Rhynchonella {llemithyris) decemplicata 
Sowerby, Nucleospira australis McCoy 
and Pentamerus australis (McCoy) were 
described in 1X77. McCoy directed the pro- 
duction of the plates which were of a very 
high quality. As noted by Darragh (1976: 
4) the ProdromUS is 'one of the finest 

Vol. 1 IX (5) 2001 


McCoy Issue 

Australian palacontological publications' 
and McCoy's descriptive work was exhaus- 
tive and methodical (Darragh 1992: 20). 

Smith (1987: 87-88) considered that 
'McCoy atrophied. Following his mentor 
Sedgwick, he never accepted the 
Ordovician epoch as a break with the 
Silurian ... McCoy did not fire his pupils* 
curiosity and seems to have produced no 
notable successors'. It is a shame that such 
a work has portrayed such a negative 
image of McCoy in Australia. As to the 
first comment, McCoy could scarcely fol- 
low Sedgwick in rejecting the Ordovician 
Period. Sedgwick died in 1873, and 
Lapworth proposed the Ordovician in 1879 
{von Zittel 1901). McCoy was. in fact, 
well aware that there was a stratigraphical 
break between the 'Lower Silurian. 4 and 
the 'Upper Silurian 1 as defined by the 
imperious Roderick Impcy Murchison, 
Director of the Geological Survey of Great 
Britain. As for his students, Darragh 
(1992) has listed eight students who were 
to make a mark in geology, biology and 
engineering. One of McCoy's students, 
T.S. Hall, applied the term Ordovician to 
Victorian rocks in 1897. He carried on 
McCoy's work on graptolites, starting in 
1 892, and commenced the subdivision and 
zona t ion of Victoria's Ordovician 
sequence. Brown (1946: xi) considered 
that the "high standard of palaeontological 
work which has been maintained since in 
Victoria owes much to the influence of 
Professor (later Sir Frederick) McCoy. He 
has left a wonderful record of published 
research ...*. 

As Darragh (1992: 22) has noted, a good 
biography of McCoy has yet to be written. 
McCoy's contribution to the study of bra- 
chiopods is enough to ensure his ongoing 
reputation as a highly significant palaeon- 
tologist. He, of course, achieved far more, 
as this volume of The Victorian Naturalist 


Doug McCann is thanked for many hours of dis- 
cussion on the life, time and works of Frederick 
McCoy. My work on Late Palaeozoic 
Brachiopoda is supported by the Australian 
Research Council and Deakin University. 


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der Koniglichen Akademie der Wissemchaften zu 
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Gouvernement de Moscou". i-.xvii, 1-202, pis 1-60. 
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McCoy, P; (1844). 'A Synopsis of the characters of the 
Carboniferous Limestone fossils of Ireland', i-viii. 5- 
207, pis 1-29. (University Press: Dublin.) 
McCoy. F. (1846). 'A Synopsis of the Silurian fossils 
of Ireland'. I -69, pis 1-4. (University Press: Dublin.) 
McCoy, F. (1847). On the fossil botany and zoology of 
the rocks associated wilh the coal of Australia 
Annals and Magazine of Natural History 20, 145- 
157. 226-236. 298-312, pis 9-17. 
McCoy, F. (1851a). On some new Cambro-Silurian 
fossils. Annals and Magazine of Natural History, 
Series 2, 8. 387-409. 
McCoy, F- (1851b). On some new Devonian fossils. 
Annals and Magazine of Natural History, Scries 2, 8. 
McCoy, F. (1851c). 'Description of the British 
Palaeozoic fossils in the Geological Museum of the 
University of Cambridge'. Fasciculus I, i-xviii, 1- 
184, pis 1A-L. (University of Cambridge Press; 
McCoy, F. (185!d), On the fossil botany and zoology 
Of the rocks associated w ; ith the coal of Australia. 
Papers and Proceedings of the Hoval Soeietx of Van 
Diemen 's Land, 1, 303-334, pis 9-17. 
McCoy, F. (1852a). Contributions to British 
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The Victorian Naturalist 

Part One 

Carboniferous Limestone. Annals and Magazine of 
Natural History, Series 2, 10, 421-429, 

McCoy, F- (1852b). 'Description of the British 
Palaeozoic fossils in the Geological Museum of the 
University of Cambridge'. Fasciculus 2, i-iv, 185- 
406, pis 2A-D. (University of Cambridge Press: 
Cambridge ) 

McCoy, F. (1854). 'Contributions to British 
Palaeontology, or first descriptions of three hundred 
and sixty species and several genera of fossil Radiata. 
Articulata. Mollusca, and Pisces from the Tertiary, 
Cretaceous. Oolitic, and Palaeozoic strata of Great 
Britain', i-viii, 1-272, pi. 1. (MacMillan and Co.: 

McCoy. F. (1855), Description of the British 
Palaeozoic fossils in the Geological Museum of the 
University of Cambridge'. Fasciculus 3: l-vii. 407- 
661, pis 3A-K. (University of Cambridge Press: 

McCoy. F 1 1861 > Oil the Ancient and Recent Natural 
History of Victoria, in "Catalogue of the Victorian 
Exhibition, [861: With prefatory essays indicating 
the Progress. Resources, and Physical Characteristics 
of the Colony*, pp. 159-174. (John Ferres. 
Government Printer: Melbourne.) 

McCoy, F. (1862). Note on the Ancient and Recent 
Natural History of Victoria. Annals and Magazine of 
Natural History, 3eries3,% 137-150. 

McC oy, F. ( 1865). Remarks on a series of fossils col- 
lected at Wollumbilla. and transmitted by Rev. W.D. 
Clarke, of Sydney. Transactions and Proceedings of 
the Royal Society oj Victoria 6. 42-46. 

McCoy, F. (1867a). On the Recent Zoology and 
Palaeontology o( Victoria. In 'Intercolonial 
Exhibition of Australasia, Melbourne. 1866-67. 
Official Record, containing introduction, catalogues, 
reports and awards of the Jurors, and essays and sta- 
tistics on the social and economic resources of the 
Australasian Colonies", pp. 300-330- (Blundell & 
Co.: Melbourne.) 

I Coy, F. ( 1867b). On the Recent Zoology and 
Palaeontology o\ Victoria. Annals and Magazine of 
Natural History, Series 3. 21). 175-202. 

McCoy. F. ( 1876). Pradromus of the Palaeontology of 
Victoria; or, figure* and descriptions of Victorian 
Organic Remains. Decade 4, 1-32. (John Ferres. 
Government Printer: Melbourne.) 

... I . t 1877). ProdromvS of the Palaeontology of 
Victoria; or, figures and descriptions of Victorian 
Organic Remains. Decade 5, 1-41. (John Ferres. 
Government Printer: Melbourne.) 

Muir-Wood, H.M_ (1955), "A History of the 
Classification of the phylum Brachiopoda . London: 
British Museum (Natural History), i-vii. 1-124. 

Pander, C.H. (1830). 'Beitrage Zllf Geognosie des 
Russichen Keiches'. i-xx, 1-165. pis 1-31. (St 
Petersburg K. Ki I 

Phillips. J. (1836) -Illustrations of the Geology of 
Yorkshire; or a description of the strata and organic 
remains: accompanied by a geological map. sections, 
and diagrams, and figures of the fossils. Pari II. Fhe 
Mountain Limestone District' i-xx, 1-253. pis 1-25. 
(John Murray: London.) 

Phillips. J. (1841). 'Figures and descriptions of the 
Palaeozoic fossils of Cornwall, Devon and West 
Somerset: observed in the course of the Ordinance 
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60. (Longman, Brown. Green & Longmans: London.) 

Richardson, JR. (1997). Ecology of articulated bra- 
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Part H. Revised", Volume I, pp. 441-462. Fd. R.L. 
Kaesler. (Geological Society of America and 
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auf ihrem jetzigen Standpunkte durch die 
Besehreibung einer Sammlung vcrsteinerter und fos- 
silcr Uberreste des Thier und Pfianzenreichs der 
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eher Hinsichl. Taschenhuch fur die gesunimte 
Mineralogie, /nit Hinsicht auj die neuesteft 
Entdeckungen 7. 3-134. pis 1-4. 

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the classification of the British Palaeozoic Rocks, by 
the Rev. Adam Sedgwick. M.A.. f.R.S.. with a sys- 
tematic description of the British Palaeozoic fossils 
in the Geological Museum of the University of 
Cambridge by Frederick McCoy. F.G.S., Hon. 
f.C.P.S". pp. i-xeviii. (John W. Parker and Son: 
London; Deighton, Dell & Co. and MacMillan & 
Co.; Cambridge | 

Sedgwick. A. and McCoy, F. (1855). 'A Synopsis of 
the Classification of the British Palaeozoic Rocks, by 
the Rev. Adam Sedgwick, M.A.. F.R.S., with a sys- 
tematic description of the British Palaeozoic fossils 
in the Geological Museum of the University o\' 
Cambridge by Frederick McCoy, F.G.s. Hon. 
F.C.P.S' Vxcviii. 1-661, pis 1A-L. 2A-D. 3/VK. 
(John W, Parker and Son: London: Deighton. Dell & 
Co. and MacMillan & Co.. Cambridge i 

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Irish Academics in Australia. Australian Cultural 
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Sowerbv. J. ( 1812-1822). 'The Mineral Conchologv oi 
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1-251, pis 103-203; 3. 1-194. pis 204-306; 4. 1-114, 
pis 307-383. 

Sowerbv. J. de C. (1823-1846). 'Fhe Mineral 
( oncholonv ofGrcal Britain 1 . London. 4, 115-160. 
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600; 7, |-80, pis 610-648. 

Tate. R. (1893). Century of Geological Progress 
Report of the Australasian Association for the 
Advancement of Science. Adelaide 1893, 5, 1-69. 

ValJance, T.G. ( 1 978). Pioneers and Leaders a record 
of Australian palaeontology in the nineteenth centu- 
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'Plants and Man in Australia', pp. 136-176. Eds D.J. 
CarrandS.G VL Cur. (Academic Press. Sydney.) 

Williams, A.. Carlson. S.J. and Brunton. C.H.C. 
(2000), Brachiopod classification, in 'Treatise on 
Invertebrate Paleontology. Part H. Revised*. Volume 
2, 1-29, Pu\ R.L. Kaesler. (Geological Society of 
America and University of Kansas: Moulder.) 

Woodward. S.P (1851). "A Manual of the Mollusca. 
Part L. i-xvi. 1-158. pis 1-12. 

Ziltel. K.A. von. (1901)- 'History of Geology and 
Palaeontology to the end of the Nineteenth Century*, 
i-xiii. 1-562. (Waller Scott: London) 

Vol. 118(5)2001 


McCoy Issue 

Frederick McCoy and the University of Melbourne 

lan Wilkinson* 


This article deals with sonic aspects Of Frederick McCoy's association wilh the University of 
Melbourne. McCoy's early career is described in order to explain the circumstances that led to his 
appointment as the University of Melbourne's first science professor. McCoy's development of a 
national museum on the University grounds is noted and some assessment is made of his contribu- 
tion lo science leaching at the University. {The Victorian Naturalist 118(5), 2001, 186-192.) 

The establishment of the University of 

When the Council of the University of 
Melbourne met for the first time in May 
1853 it appointed a Correspondence 
Committee to 'draw up the Statutes of the 
University and conduct the correspondence 
necessary for procuring suitable profes- 
sors'. In September the Correspondence 
Committee recommended that a committee 
sitting in London, headed by the famous 
scientist Sir John llerschel and the 
Astronomer Royal George Airy, should 
elect Melbourne's first four professors. 
Professors of Classics, mathematics, mod- 
ern history and natural science were lo be 
appointed. In early 1854 Melbourne's 
Chancellor, Redmond Barry, informed the 
selection committee that the Council 
wished to appoint young men, who were 
not in holy orders, who would not become 
involved in political or sectarian controver- 
sy, and who were graduates of Oxford, 
Cambridge, London, Dublin, Edinburgh or 
Glasgow universities. 

On the subject of science, Barry wrote 

The great necessity for instruction in 
Geology, Mineralogy, Metallurgy, 
Chemistry, Natural Mi story, and 
Physiology, with the attendant and collater- 
al departments of study, is hcsl proved by 
the tact, that questions of the most ordinary 
character are daily being referred lo 
England; the resources of" the country are as 
yet only partially known; and there is much 
reason to believe that such is mainly to be 
attributed to the absence hitherto of persons 
acquainted with the higher walks of 

* 1/1526 Dandenong Road, OakleigK Victoria 3366 

He further noted that if the gentleman 
selected for the science department was 
possessed of 'practical skill', be was likely 
to confer large benefits on our society*. 

The selection committee worked hard 
during the middle months of 1854, making 
its recommendations as quickly as possible 
so that the successful candidates would be 
able to travel to Melbourne in time to start 
teaching early in 1855. 

Iti a letter to Barry in August 1854, 
informing the University Council of the 
results of the selection committee's delib- 
erations, Hersehcl explained that all the 
successful candidates were young men, not 
in holy orders, who were actively engaged 
m teaching. He briefly outlined the impres- 
sive academic achievements of the men 
selected for the classics (Henry Rowe), 
mathematics (William Wilson) and mod- 
ern history (William Hearn) chairs and 
then dealt more fully with the career of 
Frederick McCoy (natural science) who 
had bcett selected without holding a uni- 
versity degree. I lerschel wrote: 

Mr McCoy having been brought up to the 
Medical Profession claims no academical 
distinctions of this nature but, independent 
of the consideration that such distinctions 
are not usually or necessarily associated 
with or evidence of eminence in that depart- 
ment of knowledge, the pretensions of Mr 
McCoy as an original authority, and as a 
most successful cultivator of Science are of 
the very highest kind and such as far to out- 
weigh in the opinion of your committee the 
absence of such Educational marks of 
Juvenile application. 1 

HerschcPs remarks reflect the fact that, 
although reform in the mid-nineteenth cen- 
tury had provided a place for the study of 
science and other 'modem' subjects in the 
curriculum of the English universities, pre- 


The Victorian Naturalist 

Part One 

eminence in science was still considered to 
be won more through practical than acade- 
mic achievements. Although Frederick 
McCoy had completed some university 
study and was. at the time of his appoint- 
ment to the Melbourne science chair, a 
professor in one of the colleges of the 
recently established Queen's University of 
Ireland, he had gained his scientific reputa- 
tion more through museum and field work 
than through academic distinction. 

McCoy won the Melbourne science chair 
over a strong field of candidates, at least 
four of whom later had careers distin- 
guished enough for their names to appear 
in the National Dictionary of Biography: 
Amongst the candidates were: William 
(later Sir William) Aitken (1825-92). 
Professor of Pathology at the Army 
Medical School, Fort Pitt. Chatham from 
1860 to 1892; William Lauder Lindsay 
(1829-80). a noted geologist and botanist. 
who combined these studies with a med- 
ical career; Henry Minchin Noad (1815- 
77), Professor of Chemistry at St George's 
Hospital, London (appointed 1847). and 
Consultant Chemist to the Wslsh 
Ironworks, who wrote books on chemistry 
and electricity; and Edmund Rolands 
(1819-89). Professor of Chemistry at 
Queen's College, Galway from 1 S49 to 
1856 and Director of the Bonnington 
Chemical Works, Edinburgh, from 1856 to 

Although it is difficult to know what was 
in the minds of the selection committee 
some 150 years ago. it appears that McCoy 
possessed three main attributes that set him 
apart from the rest of the Held. First, he 
had the ability to cover a wide range of sci- 
entific disciplines, whereas many of the 
other candidates were limited in their 
range of teaching by purely medical back- 
grounds. Second, he already had the status 
of a professor something that few other 
applicants could claim. Third, he had a 
record of scientific achievement that was 
far superior to his rivals 

A brief look at McCoy's career before he 
came to Melbourne will show why the 
selection committee thought so highly of 
him He drew support for his application 
from a distinguished group of British sci- 
entists and academics. His friend and men- 
tor Adam Sedgwick wrote that he was 'out 

of all comparison' the best man for a pro- 
fessorship in geology, mineralogy, chem- 
istry and natural history and that he was 
k the best palaeontologist in the British 
Isles'.'' A number of others endorsed his 
scientific qualifications and he received 
praise from his colleagues at Queen's 
College, Belfast for his teaching ability 
and general standing as an academic. 

McCoy's early career 

Frederick McCoy was born in Dublin in 
1823, His father. Dr Simon McCoy, was a 
physician who practised in Dublin and 
later became foundation Professor of 
Materia Mediea at the Queen's College, 
Galway. Frederick McCoy also trained for 
the medical profession, but never look a 
degree. Writing in support of McCoy's 
application for the Melbourne science 
chair. Sedgwick explained that he had had 
the 'education of a gentleman" and had 
kept 'terms* at the University of Dublin. 
He added that, although he believed that 
McCoy had met all the requirements neces- 
sary to take out a medical degree, he had 
become so immersed in studies in compara- 
tive anatomy, physiology and natural histo- 
ry that he had soon found that the medical 
profession offered 'few charms for him'/ 

Sedgwick had first met McCoy in Dublin 
in 1841, the year in which McCoy's cata- 
logues of the museum of the Dublin 
Geological Society, and the shells and 
organic remains of the Sin* collection in 
the Dublin Rotunda, were published. 
Around 1840 the noted geologist and engi- 
neer Sir Richard Griffith had engaged 
McCoy to classify his personal collection 
of Irish Palaeozoic fossils. The results o( 
this work were published in A Synopsis of 
the Characters of the Carboniferous 
Limestone Fossils of Ireland (1844) and A 
Synopsis of the Silurian Fossils of Ireland 
{ 1846)- Although McCoy's work for the 
Dublin Geological Society was deemed 
less than satisfactory and his position as 
the Society's Curator was terminated in 
February 1842, his work in a variety of set- 
tings in the early 1840s had established 
him as one of Ireland's most experienced 
palaeontologists and museum workers' (see 
McCann this issue). 

In May 1845 McCoy joined the staff of 
the British Geological Survey as a field 

Vol. 118(5)2001 


McCoy Issue 

surveyor, and, until he resigned in 
September 1846, worked mainly on the 
Geological Map of Ireland. The Survey 
had been reorganised in 1K45, one of the 
important administrative changes being the 
incorporation of the Geological Branch of 
the Ordnance Survey of Ireland into the 
British Survey and the appointment of 
Captain Henry James as Local Director for 
Ireland. Under the direction of Henry de la 
Beche, the Geological Survey had become 
an important government scientific agency. 
[)e la Beche both strengthened and reor- 
ganised the Irish Survey, centred in 
Dublin, and McCoy was one of seven staff 
working there in 1X45." 

McCoy's time at the Survey was not 
without incident. The quality of his work 
was questioned by some of his colleagues, 
including Thomas Oldham who replaced 
James as the Irish Director in 1846.'" 
Nevertheless, McCoy left the Survey with 
his reputation intact and was able to return 
to his first love museum work. 

lie now moved to Cambridge where he 
became Adam Sedgwick's assistant at the 
Woodwardian Museum. Sedgwick, who 
had been Cambridge's professor of geolo- 
gy since ISIS, was a powerful figure in 
British geology, having carried out notable 
Held investigations in (he 1820s and IS30s 
with, amongst others, his later adversary 
Roderick Murchison. 

At Cambridge McCoy's main task was 
the preparation of a complete catalogue of 
the Palaeozoic fossils in the Woodwardian 
Museum. Me carried out this task tireless- 
ly, resulting in the publication of A 
Detailed Systematic Description of the 
British 1*0 1 neozoic Fossils in the 
Geological Museum of the University of 
Cambridge, which appeared serially from 
IS4°." Following his appointment as 
Professor of Mineralogy and Geology m 
the Queen's College!" Belfast in 1849, 
McCoy's work at the Woodwardian was 
curtailed, but he continued to visit 
Cambridge during vacations and often 
went on field trips with Sedgwick. 

As Sedgwick's assistant. McCoy became 
involved in one of the most celebrated (and 
bitter) geological controversies in history. 
I or some lime. Sedgwick and Roderick 
Murchison. a former military officer who 
had taken up the study of geology and 

become a leader in the Held, had been 
embroiled in an argument over the classifi- 
cation of some important rock strata in 
Wales. Having begun their investigations 
as friends and co-workers, Sedgwick and 
Murchison had become increasingly 
estranged over whether certain strata 
should be placed in the Silurian period, 
which Murchison claimed as his area of 
expertise, or the older Cambrian period, 
which Sedgwick believed was his domain. 
Resolution of the dispute was important 
because it had implications for the study of 
geology throughout the world - both 
Sedgwick's and Murchison's work being 
highly respected in the relatively new field 
of stratigraphy (the scientific study of rock 
strata to deduce their sequence and ages). 1 ' 

Put simply, the dispute centred on the 
boundary between Silurian and Cambrian 
periods. Based on the fossil record, 
Murchison had classified certain rocks in 
North Wales as lower Silurian while 
Sedgwick had labelled them Cambrian. 
Neither man would yield and the dispute 
lingered on until well after both had died. 
In the 1 850s (and beyond) Murchison held 
the upper hand in the dispute because his 
classifications were accepted by many eon- 
temporary geologists and by the 
Geological Survey. The evidence that 
McCoy and others supplied in support of 
Sedgwick was either rejected or deflected 
in order to ensure the integrity of the clas- 
sifications in Murchison's major work. The 
Silurian System. Murchison was a power- 
ful man within the geological community 
in Britain and did not want to lose face by 
having to abandon any part of his Silurian 
system, Equally, Sedgwick viewed an 
attack on his Cambrian classifications as 
evidence that his life's work was being 
rejected. The dispute was only settled 
finally by the insertion of a new classifica- 
tion the Ordovician between the 
Cambrian and Silurian. 

As a leading member of the Geological 
Society in London, and later Director of 
the Geological Survey, Murchison was an 
extremely powerful scientific patron and 
not someone McCoy really wanted as an 
enemy. As a result, McCoy, who had 
already suffered some disadvantage in 
England because of his Irish-Catholic 
background, attempted to disassociate him- 


The Victorian Naturalist 

Part One 

self from Sedgwick's unpopular views to 
some extent, in order not to lose favour 
with Murchison and his supporters. His 
association with Sedgwick was not, how- 
ever, particularly advantageous when he 
tried to obtain employment in London. 

McCoy's future seems to have come to a 
head in early 1854 when the 'star position 
in British palaeontology* - the curatorship 
of the Geological Survey's fossil collec- 
tions in London - became vacant. 
Sedgwick tried to secure this position for 
McCoy, but Murchison ensured that other 
candidates were favoured and McCoy did 
not obtain the position. 11 Although McCoy 
had accepted a chair at Queen's College in 
August 1849, he had done so reluctantly 
and had actively sought other positions 
ever since. Sedgwick supported him in 
these endeavours and suggested, in a letter 
to Murchison in 1852. that the British pub- 
lic should secure McCoy's services 
because he was one of the steadiest and 
quickest workmen to have ever undertaken 
the arrangement of a museum." Museum 
work was clearly McCoy's forte and he 
must have been hopeful of securing a more 
prestigious appointment, possibly in 
London where the powerful Geological 
Society was based. In the end, though, his 
support for Sedgwick hindered this ambi- 
tion; although recognising his ability. 
Murchison and his supporters were quite 
happy to see him established in a universi- 
ty in the Antipodes where he could offer 
Sedgwick little further assistance. 

The Melbourne Science Chair 

Given his desire to remain in the lively 
scientific community in England, a profes- 
sorship in Melbourne might not seem to 
have been a very attractive prospect for 
McCoy. Nevertheless, the salary of £1000 
per annum was about five times more than 
he was earning in Belfast," and he was 
also guaranteed living quarters at the 
University, tenure for life and status as a 
senior scientist in the newly-established 
colony of Victoria. Furthermore, although 
there was no offer of museum work with 
the position, McCoy no doubt saw the 
prospect of developing his own little 
'empire' in the Antipodes, where little geo- 
logical or zoological work had yet been 
undertaken. While working at Cambridge, 

he had studied fossils collected in New 
South Wales by Rev. William Clarke, and 
had written two papers on Australian top- 
ics. 1 In Melbourne, he had the opportunity 
to establish a unique collection that was 
likely to attract considerable attention 
overseas because of its 'exotic' nature. 
Although 'transportation for life to 
Melbourne* meant McCoy's isolation from 
the centres of British science, it did pro- 
vide him with secure employment and the 
chance to establish a museum collection of 
significance in an environment where he 
was in charge and not dependent on the 
patronage of others. 

When McCoy and his family arrived in 
Melbourne just after Christinas 1854, the 
building that was supposed to house the 
new university was not complete and the 
prospect that the University might enrol 
more than a handful of students seemed 
remote. A lack of secondary' schools in the 
colony meant that there was not a ready 
supply of students prepared to undertake 
the University's Bachelor of Arts course, 
and. initially at least, there were many who 
felt that its establishment had been prema- 
ture. For example, when the University 
opened in temporary accommodation at the 
Exhibition Buildings with only thirteen 
students in attendance. The 4ge labelled it 
a 'costly toy* and suggested that it would 
be cheaper to send the students to England 
than to waste money on building a univer- 
sity in Melbourne- 
McCoy's early teaching at the University 
embraced a broad range of subjects, 
including zoology, comparative anatomy, 
botany, mineralogy, chemistry, geology 
and palaeontology, but the number of stu- 
dents in his classes was small. Increased 
enrolments eventually led to the appoint- 
ment of additional science lecturers and 
professors, and the number of subjects he 
taught was reduced. Nevertheless, he still 
taught zoology, geology, mineralogy and 
palaeontology (Fig. 1 ). Toward the end of 
his career, his teaching was viewed as 
being somewhat inadequate, particularly 
when compared with the more 'modern' 
approach taken by the young science pro- 
fessors appointed in the 1880s - Ormc 
Masson (chemistry), Thomas Lyle 
(physics) and Baldwin Spencer (biology)." 

Vol. 118(5)2001 


Fiji. I. Staff and students at University of Melbourne, c. 1876. Professor Frederick McCoy is seated 
first on the left in the front row. UMA/1/I306 University of Melbourne Archives. 

The National Museum 

Although the curatorship of a museum 
was not part oi" McCoy's duties as profes- 
sor of natural science, his interest in muse- 
um work, led him to seize the chance to 
create a 'national 1 museum in association 
with the University when the opportunity 
arose not long after his arrival in 

During 1855 the Governor of Victoria, 
Sir Charles Hotham, who had arrived in 
1854 with a brief to curtail the colony's 
extravagant budget, announced that public 
money would no longer be provided to 
maintain the colony's natural history col- 
lection. This collection was housed in the 
Offices of the Government Survey 
Department, but it would now have to be 
stored elsewhere. 

Eager to show interest in the collection, 
McCoy visited the Colonial Secretary's 
Office and suggested that he would look 
after it (free of charge) if it was moved to 
the University.' 9 

McCoy felt that his experience maintain- 
ing public museum collections in England 
made him the ideal person to manage 
Victoria's national collection. It had 

always been the Council's intention to 
establish a science museum in connection 
with the University because it believed that 
at least a small collection was required for 
teaching purposes. As McCoy provided 
most of the science leaching, it was his 
responsibility to establish a teaching muse- 
um and he argued that it would be better 
for both the Government and the 
University if this was established in con- 
junction with a public museum. 2 " 

The story of how delays in the transfer- 
ence of the public collection from the 
Survey Office to new rooms specially built 
for its accommodation at the University 
eventually led McCoy to take matters into 
his own hands, and bodily carry specimens 
from the city to the University, has been 
told elsewhere. :| Suffice it to say that the 
idea of establishing a national museum on 
the University grounds did not have the 
support of many members of Victoria's 
fledgling science community and McCoy 
was vilified for attempting what some por- 
trayed as a 'smash and grab' raid. In 1857 
McCoy became the Director of the 
Museum of Natural and Applied Sciences 
and in 1864 a separate National Museum 


The Victorian Naturalist 

Part One 

building was constructed on the University 
grounds. The National Museum of Victoria 
remained there until McCoy's death in 
1899. During most of his tenure as profes- 
sor of natural science. McCoy's activities 
as museum director were probably more 
significant in the eyes of the Victorian 
public than his teaching activities at the 
University (see Rasmussen this issue). 

McCoy's contribution to the teaching of 
science at the University 

During his forty-four years as professor 
of natural science. Frederick McCoy wit- 
nessed many significant changes at the 
University of Melbourne, including the 
introduction of professional schools, the 
admission of women, the establishment of 
residential colleges and a huge increase in 
the number of students and staff. When 
classes began in 1855 he was virtually the 
sole science teacher at the University-' and 
one of only a few 'professional 1 scientists 
in the Australian colonies. The fact that 
science subjects were not introduced into 
the syllabus for the University's matricula- 
tion examination until 1881 was indicative 
of the low status given to science educa- 
tion in schools and universities working on 
the classical English model throughout 
most of the nineteenth century. The estab- 
lishment of an engineering course in 1861, 
and a medical school in 1862, produced 
some expansion in the University's science 
offerings and the first attempts were made 
to include laboratory work as part of sci- 
ence instruction. In the 1880s. chairs of 
chemistry, physics and biology were estab- 
lished and science degrees (and a science 
faculty) were introduced. Although science 
teaching still played only a minor role in 
the University's curriculum when McCoy 
died, its study had gained some credibility 
at both school and university level. In 
addition, laboratory research was begin- 
ning to become an accepted part of the 
University's activities. 

When, in 1884, students complained of 
'botany in a lecture room and not a gar- 
den', lectures in Zoology without practi- 
cal demonstrations' and that v no geology 
excursion is ever made V they reflected 
concern that the type of science leaching 
McCoy offered was out-of-date. Although 
he was undoubtedly well qualified to take 

up a natural science chair in the 1850s, 
McCoy did not have either the knowledge 
or the skills that young scientists, fresh 
from Europe, brought to the University in 
the 1880s. He was basically a theoretician 
and a museum specialist, who spent most 
of his time studying indoors whilst in 

In the twilight of his career, McCoy's 
mid-nineteenth-ccntury approach to teach- 
ing and 'research' had been superseded by 
the more 'modern' approach of younger 
men. These men were not casi in the natur- 
al history tradition that had brietly come to 
the fore in professional science during 
McCoy's lifetime, but which was quickly 
returning to the realm of the amateur from 
where it had originated. For example, 
unlike McCoy, the biologist Baldwin 
Spencer, who took over some of his cours- 
es in the I SSOs, had been educated in the 
experimental tradition and believed in the 
theory of evolution. l More significantly, 
when Walter Gregory became Melbourne's 
professor of geology and mineralogy in 
1900. his appointment was heralded by The 
Age as opening 'a new era in the populariz- 
ing of University teaching in Victoria 1 . 
Adopting a vastly more practical approach 
to geological study than McCoy, Gregory 
called for new courses with field work, 
camping out and the linking of theoretical 
study with mining work. 1 


While McCoy eventually became associ- 
ated more with the inadequacies of science 
teaching at the University of Melbourne 
than with its extension, it is clear that his 
distinguished career before his arrival in 
Australia qualified him to perform the 
duties required of a mid-nineteenth century 
natural science professor. In the latter part 
of his career, he completed two massive 
works - Prodromus of the Zoology of 
Victoria and Prodromus of the 
Palaeontology of Victoria and received 
many civic and scientific awards and deco- 
rations. He also served on a number of gov- 
ernment boards and royal commissions. He 
was president of the Royal Society of 
Victoria, founding president of the Meld 
Naturalists' Club and a leading member of 
the Acclimatisation (later Zoological) 
Society. In addition to his Directorship of 

Vol. 118(5)2001 


McCoy Issue 

the National Museum, he was Government 
Palaeontologist from 1856. 36 

As professor of natural science, McCoy 
helped popularise science in Victoria 
through the establishment of a museum 
that was visited by many members of the 
community. He left as his legacy an out- 
standing natural history collection that still 
forms part of the collection at the 
Melbourne Museum today. 


I For a more detailed discussion of some of the 
material in this article see Wilkinson, l.R. 
(1996). Frederick McCoy; first science profes- 
sor at the University of Melbourne. History of 
Education Review, 25 ( 1), 54-70. 

- University of Melbourne, Minutes of the 

Proceedings of The Council of The University of 

Melbourne (Council Minutes), Melbourne, 3 

May 1853, p. 1. 

' Council Minutes, 10 April 1854, p. 3. 

4 Herschel to Barry (18 August 1854) in 

University of Melbourne, Appointment of 

Professors Book (Melbourne University 

Archives), between pp. 76 and 77. 

See 'Appointment of first Professors* 
Microfilm, Melbourne University Archives, pp. 
220-27. The candidates for the science chair are 
listed on pp. 225-26. 

• Sedgwick to Airy (24 May 1854) in the 
Correspondence of Sir Frederick McCoy (2 vol- 
umes - National Museum of Victoria Library), 
Vol. 1 and Sedgwick to Herschel (25 May 1854) 
in McCoy Correspondence, Vol. 2. (Note: These 
volumes have no page numbers.) 

7 Sedgwick to Herschel (25 May 1854), McCoy 
Correspondence, Vol. 1. 

* Herries Davies, G.L. (1995). North from the 
Hook; 150 years of the Geological Survey of 
Ireland, Geological Survey of Ireland, p. 21; 
Australian Dictionary of Biographv (ADB), 5, 
134; Nature, LX, 25 May 1899, p. 83. 

9 Hemes Davies (1995). 21; ADB, 5, 134: Flett, 
J. (1937). The First Hundred Years of the 
Geological Surrey of Great Britain, 46-7 and 
253. (Her Majesty's Stationery Office: London.) 
,0 Herries Davies (1995), 33-34. 

II ADB, 5, 134; Secord, J. A. (1986). Controversy 
in Victorian Geology. The Cambrian-Silurian 
Dispute, p. 244. (Princeton University Press: 
Princeton.); Clark, J.W. and Hughes. T.K. 

(1890). The Life and letters of the Reverend 
Adam Sedgwick, 2 volumes. II. 193-94. 
(Cambridge University Press: Cambridge.) 
1 For a detailed account and analysis of the 
Cambrian-Silurian dispute see Secord (1986). 
See also Hallam, A. fl989). Great Geological 
Controversies (second edition). Chapter 3. 
(Oxford University Press: Oxford.) For 
McCov's role see Secord (1986). Chapter 8 and 
Hallam, 80-81. 
"Secord (1986), 271-72. 

M Clark and Hughes (1890), II, 194. The letter 
from Sedgwick to Murchison is quoted as a 
footnote at the bottom of the page. 

15 He was earning just over £200 per annum in 
Belfast. See Moody, T.W. and Beckett, J.C. 
(1959). Queen's, Belfast 1845-1949. The 
History of a University^ II, 703. (Faber: 
London. ) 

16 These dealt with fossils found in the 
Australian coal fields. They were published in 
1847. A complete list of McCoy's publications 
can be found in The Geological Magazine 
(1899), 6 (New Series), 285-87. There are 69 in 

17 The Age, 16 April 1855, p. 5. 
^ADB.S, 134. 

19 See 'Memorandum re Professor McCoy's 
offer (regarding the museum)' dated 29 June 
1855. A copy of the memorandum was included 
in a letter from the Colonial Secretary to the 
University Chancellor (10 July 1855). This is 
located in University of Melbourne. Central 
Registry Files (Miscellaneous Files c. 1855- 
1901 under "Museum'). 

28 See 'Memorandum re Professor McCoy's 
offer (regarding the museum)'. 
:I For a detailed discussion see Wilkinson, T.R. 
(1996). The Battle for the Museum: Frederick 
McCoy and the establishment of the National 
Museum of Victoria at the University of 
Melbourne. Historical Records of Australian 
Science, 11 (]), 1-11. 

- William Wilson, the mathematics professor, 
taught some natural philosophy (roughly equiva- 
lent to modem dav physics). 

21 ADB, 5, 134. 

2i Finney, C. (1993). Paradise Revealed: natural 
history in nineteenth-century Australia, p. 142. 
(Museum of Victoria: Melbourne.) 

- ADB, 9, 100-1. 
: "ADB,S, 134-36. 


The Victorian Naturalist 

Part One 

McCoy's 'Living Museum' 

Gwen Pascoe* 


The System Garden, a specialised botanic garden, was established at the University of Melbourne 
under Professor Frederick McCoy. This paper is concerned with a description of the garden and its 
purpose, a (speculative) explanation of the botanical system it was designed to display, and the 
administrative problems relating to its maintenance and decline. {The Victorian Naturalist 118 (5), 2001. 

Human bliss is popularly supposed to be 
represented by a scientific life, by a 
Professor of Botany, or the Director of a 
Botanic Garden or Museum 

If this anonymous statement, dated 1864, 
is true, Frederick McCoy should have been 
blissful indeed, for his professional life 
retlected the contemporary passion for the 
collection, classification and display of 
natural history specimens. At that time he 
was Professor of Natural Science and con- 
trolled an almost completed botanic garden 
(which was later known as the 'System 
Garden'), and a museum which was grow- 
ing in size and popularity. 

Purpose and establishment 

From his museum tower, McCoy could 
have surveyed the System Garden, which 
was a 'living museum' 2 , designed to illus- 
trate 'all the natural Classes. Orders and 
most of the Families and many of the 
Genera of plants, arranged with the sys- 
tematic precision of the leaves of a book 
and fully labelled,'' When complete, the 
System Garden was a chamomile-edged 
arrangement of the plant kingdom, spread 
over about four acres in the north-west cor- 
ner of the University grounds. It consisted 
of three concentric circles with radial paths 
leading to a central octagonal conservatory 
surrounded by a moat. Fiach class of plants 
occupied a large bed with a central label 
large enough to be read from the edge, and 
subsequent divisions into family, genus 
and species were in smaller compartments 
with smaller labels.' The carefully devised 
labels also contained information concern- 
ing essential structural characteristics and 
country of origin. Aquatic plants were 

* 192 Progress Road, liliham. Victoria 3095, 

exhibited in sunken tanks 'in their proper 
places in relation to terrestrial kinds 
instead of the usual practice of putting 
them all in one reservoir ... Even the sea- 
weeds were kept growing for many years'. 
Labels in appropriate places referred to 
tropical plants which could only be exhib- 
ited in the conservatory/ 

McCoy believed that students and visi- 
tors who became familiar with this 
arrangement of the plant kingdom would 
be able to understand the basis of scientific 
classification through observing the natural 
alliances and affinities of the various 
groups of plants. Botany lectures were 
given in the first term of the academic year 
and samples of all parts of relevant plants 
were required. As many plants did not 
flower or fruit at that time, students were 
to obtain specimens from the System 
Garden as these became available/' The 
System Garden (Fig. I) was a formal 
arrangement of plants, a living herbarium 
which supplemented the dried specimens 
of a normal herbarium, and a gigantic 
teaching aid. 

Botanic gardens played an educational 
role in British and Irish universities. 
McCoy's determination to have such a gar- 
den for his students may have been 
inspired by the University's first gardener. 
William Hyndman (c. 1822-83) had been a 
botanical 'porter 1 at Trinity College, 
Dublin, where he had collected botanical 
specimens for use in lectures and for 
preservation in an herbarium/ He was later 
employed at the Melbourne Botanic 
Garden where a system garden or 'class 
ground' was being established. In March 
1856 McCoy endorsed his application for 
employment at the University with a refer- 
ence to the necessity of having a 'small, 
rigidly systematic botanic garden' to pro- 

Vol. 118(5)2001 


McCoy Issue 

Fig. I. The System Garden, 'laid out in a novel plair c. 1 S 6 5 . Photo Donald McDonald. 
UMA/l/l 154 University of Melbourne Archives. 

vide specimens to illustrate botany lec- 
tures, and recommended llyndmairs 
engagement as a 'botanical porter' who 
would also superintend the laying out of 
the proposed garden/ in association with 
Edward La Trobe Bateman (181 5?- 1 897V 
Contemporary photographs show sec- 
tions of the System Garden in the 1860s to 
1880s, while a fuller 'picture 1 is given in 
the planting list which appears in the 
Building Committee Minutes between 
entries for 8 November 1864 and 9 January 
1865. This M865 List' shows nearly 1500 
species in the garden, hot house, frames 
and propagating grounds. Some plant fam- 
ilies and individual species, especially the 
conifers and various genera such as 
Xaiiihorriioea. Aloe and Agave, can be 
identified from the photographs. By align- 
ing photographs with buildings, the posi- 
tion of these plants in the garden can be 
determined. The 1865 plant list, later cor- 
respondence and memories of the garden 
make it possible to fill some o\^ the blank 
spaces. Professor Ewart, for example, 
wrote an impassioned letter about the 
'destruction of the system garden' in 1909, 
when 'sixty-two trees and shrubs' were 
removed to make room for the conscrvato- 
rium, which was eventually built further 
down Royal Parade." 1 lie lists a few of 
these plants, which seem to have been 
mainly from the western side of the 
System Garden, though other large trees 

were also removed. E.J. Sonenberg, in 
compiling a list of System Garden plants 
for the Professor of Botany, John Turner, 
wrote of his memories of the garden, 
which included a depression (the remains 
of the moat), trees which he believed to be 
original, and the groups of trees which 
were near several identifiable features, 
such as the forestry glass house and the 
animal houses." Maps and plans also pro- 
vide hints about the planting. The 1896 
MMBW plan shows the System Garden, 
but some divisions were non-existent by 
then. This is not surprising, as such gar- 
dens are difficult to maintain, for trees tend 
to outgrow smaller plants. 1 ' 

Collectively, this information suggests 
that the System Garden was planted in an 
anticlockwise direction (perhaps in recog- 
nition that the plants were growing in the 
southern hemisphere), and beginning at the 
southern gate of the outer circle. On the 
basis of currently available material, the 
System Garden planting plan, superim- 
posed on the 18% MMBW plan, may have 
been something like Fig. 2. 

Whose "System 1 did the System Garden 

McCoy was not a botanist, but his inter- 
est in classification may have encouraged 
him to tabulate the vegetable kingdom, for 
the arrangement of plants according to per- 
ceived relationships was the basis of 


The Victorian Naturalist 

Pari One 

Fig. 2. A plan of the System Garden, showing 
some families and the main features. I, 
Sapindaceae. 2. Umbelliferac, 3, Liliaceae, 4. 
Coniferae. 5. Casuarinaceae, 6. Artoearpaceae, 
7, Myrtaceae, 8. Ranuneulaceae. 9. I'roteaeeae, 
10. Gramineae, 11. Palmae, 12. Leguminosae, 
13, Conipositae. 14. Hedge, 15. Conservatory, 
16. Moat. 

botanical 'systems'. Artificial systems 
were based on an obvious or convenient 
characteristic; the Linnaean system, for 
example, was based on external character- 
istics of the stamens. 'Natural systems', 
such as that which the System Garden was 
designed to display, were based on the 
comparison of morphological and physio- 
logical characteristics. The search for a 
'natural system' resulted in the publication 
of Antoine de Jussietfs Genera Plantarum 
... in 1789, but no single system was uni- 
versally accepted, and by I860 there were 
at least twenty-four 'versions" representing 
various botanists' attempts to devise an 
acceptable model. 1 

It was believed that nature revealed its 
own 'shape 1 in a natural system." Many 
analogies were tried, including maps, relie- 
ula, grids, archipelagos, genealogical trees, 
constellations, even three-dimensional 
pyramids. As well as being intcresled in 
the 'shape' of nature, many botanists felt it 

important to find out 
where families fitted on a 
general scale of advance- 
ment or perfection, but as 
the 19"' Century pro- 
gressed, fewer naturalists 
believed in such continu- 
ity and shape. 1 The anal- 
ogy used in the 
University garden was a 
triple concentric circle 
with radiating paths. 

Features of contempo- 
rary botanical systems 
were progression from 
'simple 1 to 'complex' 
plants, the range of plant 
groups included, the 
number of 'natural 
orders' (families), and the 
coincidence of order 
(family) names, or syn- 
onyms. The 1865 System 
Garden (S.G.) plant list 
moved from complex to simple, from 
Ranuneulaceae to ferns, and included 267 
families. The results of comparing this list 
with some contemporary versions of a 
'natural system' are shown in Table 1 . 

This comparison shows that the closest 
'match' is with Balfour's system, which 
appeared in the article 'Botany' in the 8'" 
edition ol' the Encyclopaedia Brtttanica 
vol. 5, 1854, pp^ 63-239, and in his 
Outlines of Botany 2 ml edition (Edinburgh, 

It is not known why this system would 
have been chosen for the System Garden. 
Ferdinand von Mueller was an internation- 
ally recognised taxonomic botanist who 
was also establishing a 'class ground' in 
the Botanic Garden, but there does not 
appear to be any record of his having had a 
role in the University System Garden other 
than in supplying plants. 1 " 

The adoption of Balfour's system may 
have reflected admiration for its creator, 
John Hutton Balfour (1808-84), and for 
Edinburgh University, both being known 
for the excellence of their teaching. The 
successor to William Hooker at Glasgow 
University in 1841, Balfour was Professor 
of Botany (1845-79) and Medicine (1845- 
75) at Edinburgh, and Regius Keeper of 
the Royal Botanic Garden, Although 

Vol. 118(5)2001 


McCoy Issue 

Table I. 'Natural systems' of plants compared with the 1865 System Garden (S.G.) plant list. *Four 
names are missing from the 1 865 List, which was apparently a copy of an earlier list. 


Date Direction 

Published Simple (s) 
Complex (e) 


Families Names 
(number) (like S.G.) 

De Jussieu, A.L. 


s to c 

Fungi lo nettles 



Brown, R. 


s to c 

Ferns to 



De Candolle, A.P. 


C to s 

to ferns 





c to s 

to Graminae 



De Jussieu, A. 


s to c 

Ferns to 





s to c 

Ferns to 




c. 1854 

c to s 

to ferns 



Bcntham & Hooker 


e to s 

to Graminae 



Balfour's textbooks were standard works, 17 
and McCoy brought a copy of Outlines of 
Botany with him, ,N the textbook McCoy 
later recommended to his botany students 
was Lindley\s Vegetable Kingdom, The 
'Edinburgh connection' may be via 
Charles Babington (1808-95), John 
Henslow's assistant and successor at 
Cambridge. In 1849 Babington expressed 
pleasure at receiving Balfour's Manual of 
Botany, and said that both he and Henslow 
had recommended it, 2 " It is possible that 
McCoy was one of those to whom the 
book was recommended, for he regarded 
them as friends and adopted their labelling 
system for the System Garden. ?l Another 
possible connection is William Hyndman, 
who is believed to have been a botanical 
assistant to William Hooker, Balfour's pre- 
decessor at Glasgow, and may have known 
Balfour, although he seems to have left 
Glasgow before 1 841 ." Dr Godfrey Howitt 
(1800-73) is another possible connection, 
for he had trained in Edinburgh and was a 
member of the Melbourne University 
Council. Whatever the connections were, 
for over twenty years McCoy claimed that 
his 'design 1 , 'plan' or 'system* was origi- 
nal, as, for example, in the 1860 Building 
Committee Report which referred to 
McCoy's 'original design for illustrating 
the botanical arrangement of trees, plants 
and shrubs, on a strictly methodical plan 
indispensable for educational purposes of 
students (and) also useful for popular 

improvement and general scientific 
instruction',' 1 but Balfour's contribution 
was not acknowledged. 

In 1875. McCoy explained that he had 
originally laid out the System Garden 'on a 
new plan by which the Natural Orders 
were exhibited in their exact order of 
mutual affinity, beginning with the highest 
in organization and ending with the low- 
est' (Fig. 3). McCoy's 'originality' lay in 
aiming to display the whole vegetable 
kingdom, not just herbaceous plants and 
annuals, which seems to have been the 
usual practice. 2 " It was an 'original' 
arrangement of an existing system, not an 
original system. It was a linear progres- 
sion, for despite Balfour's statement that 
'it is impossible to represent the affinities 
of plants in a linear series",^ McCoy may 
have fell that the teaching value of this 
representation was more important than 
this objection. His explanation that the 
System Garden was 'invented by me', or 
was Maid out by me on a plan which has 
been praised and copied by many high 
authorities' usually occurred when his *ter- 
ritory' was under threat. Despite this inno- 
vation, 'not everything in the garden was 

Problems of administration 

Bateman and Hyndman had important 
roles in establishing the System Garden, 
then moved on, while McCoy's continuing 
involvement made it part of his territory. 


The Victorian Naturalist 

Part One 

Fig. 3. Almost complete! The System Garden c 
Albumen silver photograph by Charles Neltleton. 
Russell and Mab Gnmwade Miegunyah Fund. 

The problems of establishing and main- 
taining sueh a garden arc hard to imagine 
now: the soil was poor, with most of the 
topsoil removed, there was no reticulated 
water until the supply from Yan Yean was 
connected in late 1 859, there were no her- 
bicides, no artificial fertilisers and no 
machines only (frequently inadequate) 
manpower and committees with little 
understanding of the requirements of such 
a specialised garden. On 9 January 1860, 
for example, McCoy's concern was water- 
ing, for the hose only reached the inner cir- 
cle of beds in the system garden and all 
other water had to be carried.'" Requests 
involving proposed expenditure on the 
System Garden appeared in the Building 
Committee minutes for most months, but 
attempts were made to curb McCoy's 
enthusiasm and expenditure. For example, 
after requesting plants which were typical 
of certain plant families, McCoy was given 
catalogues from which to make a list, 
which was then revised by Godfrey 
Howitt, who found that many of the plants 
were not available in Victoria.' On 12 July 
1860, McCoy applied to the Building 
Committee for funds to erect a portion of 
the conservatory which was intended to 

1S75. Melbourne University Gardens, Victoria. 
The University of Melbourne Art Collection. The 

occupy the centre of the garden. This may 
not have been the first such application, 
and it certainly was not the last, for the 
conservatory was not completed for anoth- 
er fifteen years. McCoy was at the 
University for forty-four years, but his tur- 
bulent relationships with administrators 
and gardeners resulted in the progressive 
contraction of the territory he controlled. 

The medical school was becoming 
increasingly important by the 1870s, and 
the System Garden grounds and hothouse 
were required to provide plants for medical 
students. By 1880 the garden was overrun 
with weeds, neglected and largely unoccu- 
pied, 'the most prominent objects being an 
abundant supply of named labels, but with- 
out any specimens to represent them*. 28 
Despite spirited defence by McCoy, the 
presentation of an alternative plan of man- 
agement, and a petition signed by 160 past 
and present students, the System Garden 
was not seen as justifying the expenditure 
of 150 pounds per year. After twenty-five 
years, McCoy's management of the 
System Garden was over. 

The System Garden was maintained by 
University staff, as shown in two pho- 
tographs taken about 1 885 '\ and teaching 

Vol. 118(5)2001 


McCoy Issue 

Fig. 4. The end of an era. The System Garden 
between 1916 and 1922. Photo J. Nanson. 

material would still have been available. 
During the financially troubled 1890s, the 
Pharmacy College offered to maintain the 
garden, but withdrew over terms and con- 
ditions.'" As the System Garden was seen 
as having no further educational role, the 
Finance Committee resolved to sell plants 
and buildings. Guilfoyle wrote that the 
Botanic Garden would gladly accept some 
of the palms, but the conservatory was not 
worth moving.' 1 


McCoy had a vision of what the System 
Garden could be. In the face of public and 
official lack of interest and inadequate 
funding, the novelty of his 'original plan' 
wore off even before it was removed from 
his physical control. It was McCoy's 
System Garden in the sense that his influ- 
ence lasted for twenty-five years, and he 
knew how it was designed to work. He did 
not try to justify the garden in terms of sci- 
entific advancement, but as a practical 
demonstration. With little public and acad- 
emic interest, the System Garden was just 
too ambitious. 

McCoy's contribution to the University 
lay in establishing the base for the teaching 
of science; for even though he was not 
remembered for being innovative, his 
botany students were encouraged to 
observe. In supporting a petition in favour 
of McCoy retaining control of the System 
Garden, Rev. E.C. Spicer wrote 

I can most truly say that nothing was of so 
great practical help to me in the study of 
botany as the access to the (system) garden 
where in the course of a few minutes one 
could see the whole vegetable world repre- 
sented from the lowest to the highest in 
order. Often I have walked up and down the 
path with my books and notes and nailed if 
I may say so my knowledge in my mind by 
living examples properly arranged. I find 
myself referring to the garden in thought for 
the position of some Order 1 may meet.- 
This was the purpose of the System 
Garden, for it was a 'living museum' 
designed to complement herbarium and 
museum collections for university students 
and interested members of the public. It 
was McCoy's arrangement of Balfour's 
botanical system, and displayed the 
Professor of Natural Science's mid 19 lh 
Century pre-Darwinian view of the plant 

A century after McCoy's death, the 
remains of the System Garden form a 
secluded oasis between the schools of 
Botany and Agriculture. Buildings have 
encroached and planting has obscured 
McCoy's design, but the white octagonal 
tower (Fig. 4) which was once the centre 
of the conservatory still marks the heart of 
the garden. This 'funny little white build- 
ing' deserves to be recognised as a memor- 
ial to the System Garden of Frederick 


1 'Botanical lesson books. Lessons in elementary 
botany; the systematic part based on materials 
left by the late Professor Henslow ...'by Daniel 
Olive (1994) Natural History Review 4, 355-369 
(Review), cited P.F. Stevens, The Development 
of 'Biological Systematics, p. 212. (New York.) 
M. Suno (1998) Loudon and the Landscape, p. 
105. (Yale.) 


The Victorian Naturalist 

Part One 

F. McCoy, 'Museums in Victoria', Trans- 
actions of the Philosophical Institute of Victoria, 
1856, 1.131. 
4 McCoy, p. 132. 

' 29 May 1875, 18751 7 543 University corre- 
spondence (UM). 

6 McCoy to Morrison, 6 September 1880. 
1880 197I0UM. 

7 A.W. Greig, University Grounds (unpaged, 
undated, but probably 1930s), University of 
Melbourne Archives (UMA). 

■ Greig, pp. 1-2; 4 July 1857 Building 
Committee Minutes (BCM). 
J 31 March 1856, 27 May 1857, BCM UMA. 
111 A.J. Ewart to Dr Hill, 2 April 1909, 1909,66 

!i E.J. Sonenberg, System Garden 1946-87, 47.1 

13 R. Schomburgk. cited T. Stephens, Proceed- 
ings Royal Society of Tasmania 1881, p. 38. 
13 J.R. Green < ! 91 4 ) A History of Botany in the 
United Kingdom, pp. 329. 336. (London.) 
'Stevens, p. 255. 

" D.W. Woodland (1991) Contemporary Plant 
Systematics, p. 2. (Englewood Cliffs.) 

Around 1972. it was believed that Mueller, 
rather than Baleman, had been associated with the 
laying out of the System Garden, Sonenberg 47. 1 . 
1 Green, p. 432- 

1 McCoy was repaid on 22 May 1856. Payment 
Vouchers (PV) UMA. 

18 Notebook of George Higgins, student 1875-78 
UMA. It was previously thought that the System 
Garden was based on Lindley's system. S. 
Ducker, 'The System Garden of Melbourne 
University', The Australian Garden Journal. 54 
April/May 1986, p. 160. 

:i C.C. Babinglon (1897) Memoirs, Journal and 
Botanical Correspondence of Charles C. 
Babington. p. 283. (Cambridge.) 
:i McCoy, p. 132. 

:: John Hyndman, great-great-grandson, person- 
al communication, 24 November 1997. 
3 28 May 1860, BCM UMA. 
1 W. Guilfoyie (1893) Glimpses of Some British 
Gardens and their Conservatories, p. 52, 

« J.H. Balfour (1852-54) Class Book of Botany, 
p. 729. 3 J edition, 1871. (Edinburgh.) 
M 9 January I860, BCM UMA. 
a 27 August I860, BCM UMA. 
M Morrison to McCoy*. 6 September 1880, 
1880/19 710 UM. 

"' Photographs c. 1885 - in University of 
Melbourne Archives, and State Library of 

50 The proposition was made 2 October 1 893 and 
withdrawn 5 February 1894. CM UMA. 

Guilfoyie to BUeiy, 12 November 1894. CM 

Rev. EC. Spiccr, 22 April 1881, 1881/26 UM. 



Greig. A.W., University Grounds (undated). University 

of Melbourne Archives (UMA). 
Higains, G., Notebooks 1S75-78 UMA. 
Sonenberg, E.J., System Garden 1946-87 47. 1 UMA. 
University of Melbourne - Building Committee 

Minutes (BCM). 
University of Melbourne - Correspondence (UM). 
University of Melbourne - Council Minules (CM). 
University of Melbourne - Payment Vouchers (PV). 


Babington, C.C. (1897). 'Memoirs. Journal and 

Botanical Correspondence of C.C. Babington". 

(Cambridge .) 
Balfour, J.H. (1852-54). 'Class Book of Botany', 3"' 

edn. 1871. (Edinburgh.) 
Balfour. J.H. (1862). 'Outlines of Botany'. 2 lld edn. 

Balfour, J.H.. (1876). 'Elements of Botany'. 3 r " edn. 

Bentham, G., and Hooker. J, (1862-83). 'Genera 

Plantarum". (London.) 
Bentley, R. (1873). "A Manual of Botany, including the 

structure, functions, classification, properties and 

uses ol plants' (London.) 
Brown. K, (18 10). 'Prodromus Florae Novae 

Hollandiae el Insulae Van Diemen'. (Codicote, 

Herts., reprinted i960.) 
Brown, R. (1830) 'Supplementum Primum'. (Codicote. 

Hens., reprinted I960 ) 
De Candollc, A. (1873). Prodromus Systematis 

Naluralis Vegelabilium". (Pans.) 
Dc JuSSfeu, A. I (1994). The Natural Method (trans, S, 

Rosa). In 'The Development of Biological 

Systematics', ed. P.P. Stevens. (New York.) 
Ducker. S. (1986). The System Garden of Melbourne 

University. The Australian Garden Journal. 5 4 

April/May' 1986. 160-165. 
Green, J.R. '(1914). "A History of Botany in the United 

Kingdom*. (London.) 
Guilfoyie, W,R. (1893). 'Glimpses ol Some British 

Botanic Gardens and Iheir Conservatories'. 

I.mdley, J. (1849). 'Llements of Botany", 6* edn. 

Lindley, J. (1853), 'The Vegetable Kingdom". 

McCoy, F. (1856). Museums in Victoria. Transactions 

of the Philosophical Institute oj Victoria 1, 127-134. 
Meisner. C.F. (1836-43). 'Plantarum Vascularium 

Genera' (Libraria Weidmannia.) 
Moyal, A.M. (1976). -Scientists in I9" 1 Ceniui J 

Australia 7 . (Stanmore.) 
Pascoe, G. (1999). 'The University of Melbourne 

System Garden: Whose Garden? And Whose 

System'.'' (History of the University Unit. 

Department of History, University of Melbourne.) 
Rafinesque, CS, (1836). 'Flora Tellurians' 

(Philadelphia ) 
Simo. M. (1998) Loudon and die Landscape (Yale.) 
Stephens, T. (1881). The Question of establishing a 

Class Ground in the Botanic Gardens. Proceedings of 

the Royal Society of Tasmania. 36-39, also discus- 
sion, pp. xviii. xix 
Stevens. P.P. (1994). The Development of Biological 

Systematics', (New York ) 
Woodland. D.W. (1991). 'Contemporary Plant 

Systematics', (Lnglcwood (lilts | 

Vol. 118(5)2001 


McCoy Issue 

Professor Frederick McCoy and the 
National Museum of Victoria, 1856-1899 

Carolyn Rasmussen* 

Based on a talk given for the History of the University Unit, Department of History, 

University of Melbourne, Occasional Seminar Series, 22 March 2001. 

based on a recently published history 

A Museum for the People; a history of Museum Victoria and its predecessors, 1854-2000. ' 

1 don't presume to be an expert on 
Professor Frederick McCoy but in the 
course of working on a series of commis- 
sioned histories for the past fifteen years or 
so 1 think I have acquired some insight into 
directors, chief executive officers and the 
like, especially of public institutions in 

Foundation directors are a uniquely inter- 
esting group because they have the greatest 
opportunity to stamp their character on the 
now institution. That stamp is usually 
remarkably persistent especially so in the 
case of Professor McCoy who took over 
the National Museum of Victoria only two 
years after its formation and presided over 
its development for 43 years from 1856 to 
1899. Foundation directors are also 
uniquely interesting because the creation 
of new institutions suggests interesting and 
dynamic times, an historical moment when 
underlying processes of change and resis- 
tance can more easily be discerned. 

I made my first acquaintance with 
Professor Frederick McCoy, not when I 
began to work on the history of Museum 
Victoria, but several years earlier while 
supervising Owen Pascoe's honours thesis 
on McCoy's System Garden (see Pascoe 
this issue). I embarked on the Museum 
project fully aware that fitting such a com- 
plex, or should I say, contradictory, man 
into any neat paradigms was never going 
to be easy. On the other hand there is 
something truly seductive about the histor- 
ical character who defies generalisations 
and stares at you, hands on hips, taunting 
you with the currently unfashionable ques- 
tion, 'What if ...T 

Today I will take the risk and argue that 
without Professor McCoy - for all his 

* 7 Grand vtfcW Street, Moonee Ponds. Victoria 

obvious flaws - Victoria would not have 
had the museum it has today. McCoy 
arrived at a singular moment of opportuni- 
ty for one person to make a very big mark 
on a small canvas and, like Redmond 
Barry (see Carkeek this issue) with whom 
he was eventually locked in near mortal 
combat, he wielded a very thick brush with 
a confidence that bordered on hubris, 
except that his efforts were, 1 think, for the 
most part genuinely directed towards the 
benefit of the citizens of the Colony of 
Victoria. The value he added to the 
National Museum was a significant 
bequest to the nation, defined in his life- 
time as the Colony of Victoria, but ulti- 
mately the whole of Australia. 

'A dedicated director was of paramount 
importance 11 

1 am indebted to historian Susan Shects- 
Pyenson for the title of this section. In her 
comparative study of the development of 
colonial museums during the late nineteenth 
century she observed that, 'Only those 
directors who possessed considerable ener- 
gy and charisma could mobilize the power 
and financial support necessary for the sur- 
vival of their institutions.' 1 Pronouncements 
about the ecntrality of director or curator in 
defining a museum abound in the nineteenth 
and early twentieth centuries, but Sheets- 
Pyenson stresses the extra special qualities 
needed by colonial 'museum builders' who 
'produced remarkable institutions from 
almost nothing. Nearly every conceivable 
factor - political, economic or academic - 
militated against the museum builder's suc- 
cess in his undertaking, but remarkable indi- 
vidual perseverance brought eventual tri- 
umph over adversity/ The directors' intense 
commitment to their museums 'continued 
unabated for decades'. Only such 'an unwa- 
vering sense of purpose" could 'wring the 


The Victorian Naturalist 

Part One 

resources they needed from parsimonious 
colonists'. 4 I think that Sheets-Pyenson 
overstates the case for museum director as 
hero and underrates the factors favouring 
museum development - not the least of 
which was the rich material to be collected, 
described and traded that was all around 
them - but if her image of natural history 
museums as 'cathedrals of science' stands - 
and I think it does - then it is not unreason- 
able to speak of McCoy as a high priest. 
The association of museum directors with 
the passion, conviction and faith of religious 
profession can serve to remind us that in 
McCoy's formative years religion and sci- 
ence had not yet parted company. There 
was still only a very rudimentary notion of a 
secular world view and. in McCoy's opin- 
ion (made concrete in the form of his muse- 
um exhibitions) the relationship between 
nauiral science and natural theology was not 
challenged by Charles Darwin's theories of 
natural selection and the origin of species. 

At this point, since McCoy's reputation 
with subsequent generations has been dis- 
torted by his steadfast rejection of the theo- 
ry of evolution (see Butcher this issue), it 
is important to stress that he arrived in the 
colony full of the latest and most exciting 
knowledge in his field. He was not just a 
man of his times but a man with a justifi- 
able sense of himself as one of those work- 
ing on the frontiers of that knowledge. His 
claim to be developing his own botanical 
system in the System Garden al the 
University of Melbourne, and similarly his 
claims regarding the particular arrange- 
ment of specimens in his museum, make 
this quite clear. He was undoubtedly 
imbued with a sense that there were sys- 
tems and theories to be developed and that 
he was as well equipped as anyone he 
knew to help to give some final shape to 
those classificatory systems. 

When McCoy arrived to take up his posi- 
tion as Professor of Natural Science at the 
University of Melbourne in 1854 the sub- 
ject of museums would have been promi- 
nent in his thinking. Scientific teaching in 
that period was scarcely imaginable with- 
out some form of museum, or museum- 
style collection, to use for demonstrations 
in lectures and for systematic study by stu- 
dents, just as today science teaching is 
scarcely imaginable without access to lab- 

oratories. McCoy also needed a museum if 
he was to have any chance of continuing 
his palaeontological studies. 

The original plans for the University of 
Melbourne had included a museum, and 
McCoy was dismayed to see that as things 
stood financially with the University, it did 
not have a high priority. He set to work to 
convince the University Council that his 
science course could not possibly be con- 
ducted adequately without additional 
accommodation for his equipment, his glass 
eases of mineral and botanical specimens, 
his pneumatic pumps and galvanic and elec- 
tromagnetic apparatus/ He succeeded, and 
finance was found for a two storey building 
on the north side of the quadrangle (now the 
Law Library) which included lecture the- 
atres and a physics laboratory on the first 
floor, and within a short time, the collec- 
tions of the infant "National Museum', as it 
became known, on the second. 

The University Council also provided 
funds for Professor McCoy to establish a 
botanic garden which he intended to 
arrange 'with the systematic precision of 
leaves of a book and fully labelled in the 
way adopted in the University Botanic 
Garden at Cambridge'.' 1 As Gwen Pascoe 
has suggested, 'Such a formal arrangement 
of plants, a living herbarium which supple- 
mented the dried specimens of a normal 
herbarium, was a gigantic teaching aid 1 / 
So too was a museum, but it was much 
more than that. Notwithstanding their 
obvious utilitarian and intrinsic value. 
museums were valued and contested sym- 
bols of power and status. Historian Dick 
Selleck argues, in his forthcoming history 
of the University of Melbourne, that in the 
mid-nineteenth century 

powerful men sought to hold museum keep- 
ership in their gift and, as McCoy [hadl 
found to his cost in England, to use the giv- 
ing to increase their power and their control 
over knowledge. Museums were also sites 
of the contest to improve the standing of the 
leaching of modem studies, particularly the 
natural sciences, so that it is not surprising 
thai at Oxford and Cambridge the extension 
of science teaching was planned around 
museum areas; 
At the same time as systematic science 
gained in status, museums throughout the 
European world were being transformed 

Vol. 118(5)2001 


McCoy Issue 

from idiosyncratic private collections and 
acquiring greater significance in intellectual 
and cultural life generally. McCoy wanted 
to be part of this process of transformation. 

So too did a number of other people in the 
colony - or rather those who fancied them- 
selves 'men of science'' and in tune with 
modern developments. There were already 
private museum-style collections of some 
significance, and the Mechanics 1 Institute 
Was home to a small museum. The scientif- 
ically oriented Governor La Trobe had 
encouraged ambitions for bigger things 
which had borne fruit in the establishment of 
a small natural history and economic geolo- 
gy museum. When McCoy arrived it was 
housed in two rooms of the Government 
Assay Office under the care of Surveyor- 
General Andrew Clarke and Government 
Zoologist William Blandowski. 

The funding crisis that had threatened 
plans for a university museum also threat- 
ened the continued existence of the gov- 
ernment-sponsored museum. The group of 
well-connected enthusiasts, members of 
the Philosophical Institute of Victoria, who 
saw themselves as unofficial trustees of 
this museum, had little power to protect or 
promote it in hard times. And hard times 
came about with a regularity that has kept 
all of Victoria's cultural institutions on a 
financial knife-edge to the present day. 

McCoy was quick to see the opportunity 
to acquire a museum under his care, and 
the government was relieved to hand it 
over to someone willing to develop it as 
part of the role of Government Palaeont- 
ologist and university professor. The local 
museum supporters were outraged, but 
those with cooler heads, such as Andrew 
Clarke, saw more than a neat financial 
solution. McCoy brought intellectual 
authority, professional experience and 
international connections that could only 
enhance the status and prospects of the 
colonial museum. With hindsight it is clear 
that the museum was more secure than if 
its fate had been left in the hands of a com- 
mittee of quarrelsome men with inflated 
egos. That McCoy soon proved inclined 
that way himself was unfortunate, but at 
least he didn't waste opportunities arguing 
amongst his selves over the museum's 
needs - and there were battles aplenty still 
to be fought on behalf of the Museum. 

Quite apart from Sheets-Pyenson's conclu- 
sions about the benefits of a single, strong- 
willed director, closer to home, the diffi- 
culties Gerard Krcfft experienced with his 
trustees at the Australian Museum in 
Sydney - to the detriment of that muse- 
um's development - certainly bears out the 

McCoy's subsequent behaviour in build- 
ing and defending this museum - his dedi- 
cation to it long after many of his other 
passions had waned; his willingness to 
beg, borrow, barter, provide out of his own 
pocket and seriously overspend his budget, 
suggest an almost complete identification 
of himself with the National Museum. It 
was, as he explained to Redmond Barry. 
Chancellor of the University in 1856, not 
only his 'business' but his 'pleasure also'. 
I devole much time to the arrangement of 
the museum and the naming and classifica- 
tion of specimens, but this I do ... Because 
1 like [where others) might wish to take 
exercise in the open air, or practice music, 
or please himself otherwise in the disposal 
ol his lime after lectures ..." 
All this seems to justify what was an 
administratively correct removal of the 
infant museum collection to the 
University" despite the use of colourful 
words such as 'raid' and 'brigandage' at 
the lime, and ever since. '■ It also tells 
something about the way McCoy concep- 
tualised his own role in science and sci- 
ence education, and the place of a museum 
in that. 

The museum I am growing here'' 

The National Museum soon outgrew the 
four rooms in the north wing of the 
Quadrangle Building. McCoy expended 
much detailed thought on his requirements 
for the new Museum building (in the secu- 
lar Gothic style of the new museum at 
Oxford) which opened in 1864, as well as 
the arrangement of the specimens with 
which it would be stocked (Fig. 1). The 
modern museum, such as McCoy wished 
to develop, would be defined by its spe- 
cialisation, its careful and accurate classifi- 
cation and its visual explication of the stale 
of knowledge at the time. The 'showy and 
useless' would not crowd out the 'appar- 
ently insignificant creatures that for good 
or evil most concern mankind'. Neither 


The Victorian Naturalist 

Part One 

Fig. 1. National Museum of Victoria, Melbourne, c. 1865-1889. Lithograph and watercolour by 

Clarence Woodhouse. The University of Melbourne Art Collection. Grimwade Bequest. 1973, 

would McCoy's museum be a jumble. 
Labels on zoological specimens would 
include family, genus, species, locality and 
popular name. A system of Roman numer- 
als permitted 'reference to lists panned on 
the walls giving the orders of all the class- 
es of animals in full'. Mineral specimens 
were similarly labelled with name, locality, 
'crystalline system and the chemical for- 
mula of its partial composition set forth in 
symbols explained by adjoining painted 
tables and lists'. Palaeontological speci- 
mens were 

first divided into geological groups or peri- 
od according to the distribution in time and 
analogous to the distribution in space indi- 
cated by the arrangement of the collections 
of specimens of living species. The fossils 
of each formation are then arranged in zoo- 
logical systematic order, and fully named 
with genus, species, locality and forma- 
In short, McCoy wished to provide the 
colonial frontier with access to a world 
view that was only just making itself felt in 
the metropolitan centres of Europe and 
North America. He also exhibited a deft 
touch in marrying his metropolitan know- 

ledge with provincial needs and aspira- 
tions. His museum was as focused on what 
we would understand today as applied sci- 
ence the technology for extracting ore 
and minerals from the earth, identifying 
building materials and improving agricul- 
tural production as it was on laying out 
the classificatory systems of natural sci- 
ence. The mining models were among his 
most prized exhibits, for his museum was 
always intended to be both a site of 
research and of education a place for the 
elite and for the ordinary, curious citizen. 
McCoy never intended to shut the public- 
out of the National Museum, as his detrac- 
tors in the Philosophical Institute and the 
daily press had claimed; quite the contrary. 
Apart from his scientific mentors, 
McCoy was influenced by men such as the 
British Museum's director, Edward 
Forbes, whose thoughts on 'The education- 
al Uses of Museums' were published in 
1851. Within the last few years, wrote 
McCoy, museums had been discovered to 
be 'the most ready and effectual means of 
communicating the knowledge and experi- 
ence of the experienced few to the many.' 
Under his direction Mhc eye of the 

Vol. 118(5)2001 


McCoy Issue 

unlearned eould be familiarised with natur- 
al objects, with the principles of classifica- 
tion applied to them by scientific men, to 
place their peculiar characters and mutual 
relations in a striking light.'' 1 * This was noi 
empty rhetoric. McCoy went lo great 
lengths to entice visitors. The Museum was 
open all day from Monday to Saturday and 
every week he supplied the Argus with 
reports of the latest attendance statistics 
and descriptions of new acquisitions. 
Many were brief, others little essays on the 
latest developments or the lessons that 
might be learned from observing new 
exhibits. Something of McCoy's style of 
exposition can be gleaned from one such 
report in the Argus of I January I860. 
The ease devoted to osteology has had sev- 
eral additions, amongst which the skeleton 
of the armadillo is of great interest lo natu- 
ralists ami geologists, from illustrating the 
great geological extinct mammals belong- 
ing to the edentate group such as the 
Megatherium, Afylodon, Glypfodon, &c. 
The singular structure of the bones of ihe 
limbs and shoulders, recalling, on a small 
scale, the peculiarities of the extinct gigan- 
tic creatures mentioned. This skeleton of the 
armadillo also illustrates belter than lhat of 
any oilier Edentata ihe extremely interesting 
arguments of Dr. Buekland in his Bridge- 
water Treatise, and Professor Owen, touch- 
ing Ihe special peculiarity of Ihe spinous 
processes of the vertebrae of the trunk to 
en&blG them to support the external body 
carapace (which may be seen in the stuffed 
specimens of armadillo in the Noulh 
American cases) peculiar to the Edentata 
amongst warm-blooded animals, and Ihe 
recognition of which peculiar development 
in the gigantic fossil vertebrae enabled Lord 
Auckland and Owen to predict the existence 
of a great bony external armour protecting 
Ihe extinct animals alluded to before the 
nearly perfeei shields of ihe Qfyptadon now 
in the College of Surgeons, were known. 
The lovers of osteology will also find in the 
additions of ihe week to this ease beautiful- 
ly mounted skeletons of the jackal, Ihe sea- 
eagle, the Virginian eagle-owl, and ol' the 
cobra de capelia [Naja tripudiens), and also 
the skulls of the walrus, ihe zebra, Arabian 
horse, and ihe hippopotamus, the latter 
affording an interesting comparison with 
Ihe fossil HexQpratGtoH from Ihe sandstone 

of the Sivalik Hills in the east room. To the 
mining department several models of gold 
washing and crushing machinery have been 
added, and a large working model of Ihe 
Freyburg Erz muehie or mill for grinding 
ores for the metallurgist; also examples of 
the new patent galvanic plates of 
Meyerhoffs patent gold-washing and amal- 
gamating cradle, presented by the inventor, 
together with samples of gold amalgam and 
extremely tine gold saved by this machine. 
A fine specimen of the mantis called Pod- 
atanftws viridiroseus, caught in Gardiner, 
has been presented by Mr Vail, and another 
species from Liecehworth, presented by Mr 
McCoy's efforts as a publicist not only 
attracted visitors, they helped raise the pro- 
file of science and the level of knowledge 
even among those who did not visit. 

McCoy proved an excellent publicist 
with a sure instinct for what would attract 
popular interest. Even P.T. Barnum, whose 
style and circuses are so often presented as 
the antithesis of sober, 'dusty' museums. 
would have taken his hat off to the sensa- 
tion created by McCoy's coup in securing 
a large case of Paul Du Chaillu's gorillas 
in 1865 some of the very first lo be seen 
by Europeans. They were to serve as cen- 
tre piece for his orchestration of a lively 
debate on the theory of evolution in 
Melbourne and further strengthened his 
reputation as a man in touch with Ihe latest 
developments throughout the world. 1 

By the middle of the nineteenth century 
science was established as an international 
enterprise and the building or redeveloping 
of museums very much the vogue,"' 
Scientists in different countries engaged in 
regular communication and McCoy was a 
prodigious letter writer. Australia's place 
in this intellectual community may have 
seemed dependent and peripheral by most 
measures, but its role as a site of sustained 
interest and valuable research material for 
international visitors ensured that 
antipodean scientists would soon assume a 
greater degree o( independence and custo- 
dianship. McCoy could draw quickly and 
easily on the latest museum models to plan 
his own. and he articulated a clear concep- 
tion of where his museum sat in this 
scheme of things. k The Museum I am 
"growing here"*, he wrote to Adam 


The Victorian Naturalist 

Part One 

Sedgwick, was to be truly scientific. 
approximating the comprehensive collec- 
tion which Richard Owen was at that time 
constructing at the Natural History 
Museum at South Kensington in London. 17 
One of his first acts on behalf of the 
Museum was to seek from Owen a 'few 
separated skulls and other parts of skele- 
tons ticketed and coloured and connected' 
to illustrate his Vertebral Theory." McCoy 
adopted Owen's principle of displaying 
specimens that called attention to an ani- 
mal group by accentuating a particular 
quality. Whale skeletons, for example, 
showed the enormous size attained by 
aquatic animals and it is easy to imagine 
McCoy's enthusiastic pursuit of the bones 
of the oversized Blue Whale Balaenoptera 
muscitlus that washed up on the beach at 
Jan Juc in 1866. The 90 foot skeleton was 
of necessity set up outside at the back of 
the museum and has not survived. At the 
lime it was among the largest articulated 
specimens in any museum (see Seebeck 
and Warneke next issue). 

McCoy also followed Richard Owen's 
example in remaining inside his museum 
rather than out in the field collecting. Part 
of the reason lay in his dual role as profes- 
sor. The University had only allowed 
McCoy's appointment as Government 
Palaeontologist after assurances that the 
work would not interfere with his profes- 
sorial duties. McCoy taught across a wide 
range of subjects in addition to various 
other commitments within the University 
and outside in the wider community that 
would not easily have allowed for lengthy 
expeditions. Significantly, his own reputa- 
tion rested on museum study not field 
work, for which he had been severely criti- 
cised while working with the Geological 
Survey of Great Britain." In any case a 
steady stream of material for him to work 
on arrived from the Geological Survey of 
Victoria/" The subsequent elevation of 
field trips in the work of scientists has led 
to some undervaluing of McCoy's legacy 
which included the first comprehensive 
account of the /oology and palaeontology 
of Victoria published in the Victorian 
Exhibition Catalogue of 1861. On the basis 
of his work on Victorian palaeontology 
McCoy was able to demonstrate that the 
geological column in Australia conformed 

to that of Great Britain. Europe and North 
America (see McCann this issue). Tor the 
first time it was unequivocally verified that 
the rock sequences in the Southern 
Hemisphere correlated precisely with those 
of the Northern Hemisphere. In other 
words, the geological column was a global 
phenomenon.* 11 This work would earn him 
a doctorate from Cambridge (1886) and 
the coveted fellowship of the Royal 
Society (1880). 

For McCoy, as for many significant sci- 
entists of his era, the museum was central 
to his investigations and the ideas devel- 
oped on the basis of that work. Richard 
Owen "assumed that the collection, display 
and description of natural history objects 
added to the "intellectual wealth" of a 
nation and that the "indoor naturalist, 
museum curator played a significant part 
in this important scientific enterprise". 
McCoy cast himself, in the manner o( 
Owen in London, Agassi/ at Harvard and 
others, as builder of a 'national" collection 
for the benefit of all Victorians despite 
modifications and limitations on the model 
imposed by the colonial context. 

McCoy's primary intention was to devel- 
op for Victorians a wide-ranging interna- 
tional reference or index' collection in 
clear harmony with Ferdinand von 
Muellers claim that 'the ripened work of 
our successors' depended on 'the timely 
storing up of collections for scientific use". 
For McCoy such a collection was neces- 
sary if local investigators were to identify 
their discoveries correctly and authorita- 
tively as they turned "the unread pages of 
the Book of Nature'. ' In explaining this 
McCoy drew an analogy with politics. 'As 
well might you expect to understand the 
politics of one European stale without ref- 
erence to the acts and laws of the others, as 
attempt to investigate the natural products 
of a colony without at least certain typical 
specimens from all other parts of the 
world'.' 4 Such a collection was also essen- 
tial to the provision of sound scientific 
education in the colony. In the long run 
this would strengthen the authority ^\' 
younger local scientists who were disad- 
vantaged by their limited access to educa- 
tion and museums in the northern hemi- 
sphere. Such authority and a good refer- 
ence collection were also necessary if 

Vol. 118(5)2001 


McCoy Issue 

Australia were lo stem the flow of the most 
valuable material to overseas museums. 

In pursuit of this reference collection 
McCoy immediately set about establishing 
a network of overseas collectors of high 
quality from whom to buy the specimens 
he required. The scope of his plans and the 
size of his budget are readily revealed by 
the first orders placed in 1857. Predictably 
one of the earliest went to John Gould (see 
Fleming this issue). He was asked to pro- 
vide as large a collection of the generic 
types of 'good bird skins and for species as 
good [as] exemplification of the principal 
geographical groups' as £400 would pur- 
chase. The first consignment of 1,000 bird 
skins arrived the following year. These 
augmented the 150 North American bird 
skins presented by the Boston Society of 
Natural History in 1857 which included a 
pair of the now extinct Passenger Pigeon. 
Gould would ultimately provide ten thou- 
sand skins of birds and mammals (mostly 
from outside Australia) in regular consign- 
ments to the Museum until 1870.-- J.O. 
Westwood was forwarded £250 to obtain 
'as large a collection of generic types of 
insects, Crustacea and other articulata as 
can be obtained' accurately labelled 
according to the latest museum style. 
McCoy sought the efforts of Dr John 
Edward Gray, Keeper of Zoology at the 
British Museum, in obtaining examples of 
generic types and geographical groups of 
'quadrupeds, British and other fishes dried 
flat, shells, corals, echinoderms and rep- 
tiles' to the value of £520. He was also 
asked to send a complete set of the British 
Museum catalogues. Rev. Professor 
Henslow of Hitcham Rectory, Suffolk was 
to see if he could acquire a 'copy as it were 
of your Museum of Economic, Botanical 
and Agricultural Museum at Kew\ All 
expenses of anyone undertaking to put this 
collection together would be 'cheerfully 
paid by the Colony whose desire it is 
above all things to save time or take it by 
the forelock V 

McCoy's use of 'cheerfully' here is 
worth some reflection. It suggests a 
largesse and mood rarely associated with 
governments, certainly not hard-pressed 
colonial governments beset from every 
direction with urgent needs for basic infra- 
structure. Rather this is a transference of 

McCoy's own state of mind and heart. His 
pleasure in building Victoria's museum 
was immense, so immense that he could 
scarcely acknowledge that others might be 
less enthusiastic, that they might have 
other priorities for the spending of public 
money, or, in the case of collectors, that 
they would not mind waiting years to be 
paid for valuable consignments to the other 
side of the world. 

Of these early contacts, John Gray 
proved a particular friend of the Museum. 
McCoy had not presumed to seek his per- 
sonal attention, only that the 'tedious mat- 
ter' of his requests be handed over to 'one 
of the zoological assistants*, but Gray con- 
cerned himself closely with purchasing 
more than £3,182 worth of specimens 
between 1857 and 1 864 when he suffered a 
debilitating stroke. He struck a bargain 
with Liverpool's Derby Museum which 
netted 128 mounted mammals and ten 
skins for less than the usual cost of stuffing 
alone, and spent six months attending to 
the mounting of 2.000 species of shells on 
boards and another three to name and cata- 
logue an assortment of fish and reptiles 
preserved in alcohol. He offered to travel 
lo Paris to evaluate 8,000 bird specimens 
offered by the Verreaux taxidermy firm 
and in 1863 purchased the Curtis British 
Insects Collection, which unaccountably 
had been turned down by the British 
Museum. Above all, Gray provided 
McCoy with essential introductions to pro- 
fessional natural history dealers and collec- 
tors in Britain and Europe where trade and 
commerce in such items was a flourishing 
business. He 'gave unstintingly of his time 
and talent to help the collections of a man 
he had never met and a museum he would 
never see." 1 McCoy had managed in a 
remarkably short time to bring to Victoria 
a collection that embodied a good deal of 
the latest scientific understanding of the 
natural world. 

In the first decade of his directorship 
McCoy enjoyed a relatively lavish budget. 
When this collection expenditure is added 
to normal running expenses and the cost of 
the new building opened in the grounds of 
the University in 1864, it amounted to over 
£80,000. In the new building he had far 
more scope to present the material accord- 
ing to his own view of the 'great chain of 


The Victorian Naturalist 

Part One 

being" and the relationship between vari- 
ous animal groups. Here we return to con- 
sider a man who, even after half a life- 
time's exile in the colonies, never relin- 
quished a sense of himself as a scientist 
capable of generating and explicating new 
knowledge. His geographical museum lay- 
out became a concrete expression of his 
rejection of the new intellectual paradigms, 
not only Darwin's theories of natural 
selection and the origin of species by evo- 
lution, but the rise of biology, physiology 
and laboratory-based science that threat- 
ened the status of museums far more com- 
prehensively than these theories. This 
steadfast rejection was in tunc with many 
of his fellow citizens. The published trib- 
utes of the time tended more to praise him 
for this than ridicule. As one writer in 1881 
declared, Tt is satisfactory in this age of 
weak-backed men to find someone who 
has the courage of his opinions*/" 

That McCoy clung to older paradigms is 
hardly surprising given his age, but like 
others with more expertise than I can 
demonstrate, he seems to have rejected 
Darwin's theory in scientific terms, as he 
saw them (see Butcher this issue). It was 
not simply an irrational rejection of a novel 
idea. He did attempt to engage with the 
new theories "as a scientist' and his 
Museum played a significant role in that 
engagement. A year before his death. 
McCoy drafted what appears to be a letter 
to a daily newspaper that was never scut 
or at least, never published. In outlining his 
version of the history of the National 
Museum of Victoria, the ever increasing 
si/e of his handwriting and the intensity of 
the corrections and underlining under- 
scores his rising passion. The story had 
acquired some revealing 'errors* of fact, 
and there was the unusual rehearsal of 
complaints about poor treatment and bud- 
getary deficiencies, but far more interest- 
ing is his resonant, if querulous and long- 
winded, restatement of his philosophy of 
museum arrangement. It requires a long 
quotation to do justice to McCoy's propo- 
sitions and his sense of himself as no mere 

The plan and arrangement of the National 
Museum had from the first some special 
peculiarities which have been since recog- 
nised generally as adding greatly to the 

interest of collections arranged according to 
the methods in the older museums; a little 
explanation may now be desirable. 
All the zoologists well acquainted with the 
great number of species are agreed that the 
Geographical Distribution of the Species is 
of a great & peculiar interest not striking 
the attention in the old museums. There are 
six ... regions of the earth, all the living 
creatures in which are so peculiar to one or 
other of them that the term 'centres of cre- 
ation' has sometimes been applied to them 
by theorists. The fact is that very few crea- 
tures are common to any two of these 
regions, & in the design of our National 
Museum there was a separate gallery foj 
each of these great regions of the world. 
This gives great interest to geographical 
studies, and the public will readily see the 
zoological peculiarities of each of these 
regions with a distinctness not suggested by 
any other arrangement. ... Bach of the 
regions has a complete Systematic Classifi- 
cation of all the species in its own gallery. 
One can see by this plan at a glance the fal- 
sity of the view held by most theorisis that 
the differences in the structure of animals 
are due to their surroundings, climate &c. 
One can see in our Museum when finished 
[McCoy had been waiting 34 years for the 
second wing to be built] that Australia. 
South Africa and South Amencu present 
great tracts in the same latitudes, having 
practically the same surroundings in all 
their varieties, & yet ... the fauna of each is 
totally different from the other two 
scarcely a single species being in common 
& where in cither of them the external cir- 
cumstances would influence the habits, 
structure or appearance of some characteris- 
tic creature, instead of that species being 
common to the three similar localities thc> 
are ' represented ' by singularly similar crea- 
tures in habit and general appearance, but 
totally distinct structurally. The Ostrich of 
the sandy plains o( Africa, for instance, is 
represented in the similar plains of 
Australia by the Hmu; and by the Rhea in 
the similar plains of South America. In this 
way the 'theory of representative forms' 
comes with clearer apprehension to the visi- 
tor than in any other classification. In the 
three birds I mentioned there could be no 
question of one of these forms having 
grown out of the other by a difference of 

Vol. 118(5)2001 


McCoy Issue 

surroundings, for the Ostrich has two JOBS, 
& the Australian aod South American rep- 
resentatives three a Change not required, 
St all the three thriving when introduced 
into any one of the localities by man. The 
monotony in other museums of immense 
numbers of species of a genus showing little 
striking diverseness is curiously and sug- 
gestively relieved by breaking the series up 
into the great geographical regions or 
groups where the set in om: country curi- 
ously represents the series in another. 1 
believe that at present there is no known 
reason for those great characteristic geo- 
graphical distributions and representations; 
but when the Museum is finished the visi- 
tors will have the means of judging for 
themselves on the truth of these theories, 
the facts, for Ihe first time, being made clear 
m the initial arrangement; & children & 
travellers or persons studying Ihe works of 
voyagers will have a peculiar pleasure in 
seeing all the characteristic animals of a 
country treated of, contrasted with Lhose of 
another gallery ... |The fossil collection 
could also be used to reinforce his views] i 
have always considered Ihe changes 
between the fossils of one geological for- 
mation and another comparable to the 
changes above referred to in the geology o\' 
the six great zoological regions of the earth 
at the present day. This is a new view, 
which I have had in mind in all the prepara- 
tions ollhe Museum. & which will be clear- 
ly seen when the building is finished and 
my fine collections of fossils are displayed 
for inspection of the public in due systemat- 
ic order; showing the world-wide distribu- 
tion of species in the old time but distinctly 
conforming in the more recent [unclear] to 
the main characteristics of the geographical 
distribution of the living types ... of our 
own times.'' 

McCoy had frequently stressed ihe singu- 
larity of bis museum arrangement - not 
only because it was. in bis view, more sci- 
entifically valid, but because it was more 
entertaining and engaging. He never con- 
ceived of his museum as one where display 
was not integral to its purpose. Mis sup- 
porters certainly praised the National 
Museum for the absence of the 'depressing 
monotony* seen elsewhere in Victoria 
where all the species of one genus are dis- 
played together' and "one has scores of 

cases of birds, avenues of skeletons, a mile 
of rats and mice' (though the modern read- 
er might well wonder where these other 
museums actually were!) All that could be 
dismissed as yet further evidence of 
McCoy's famous dogmatism, which it cer- 
tainly was from one perspective. On the 
other hand, it was the foundation of his 
strategy and the source of the drive that 
brought to colonial Melbourne a genuinely 
world-class, international collection. A 
more humble, self-effacing man would not 
have prevailed to the extent that McCoy 
did in overcoming the huge financial and 
other obstacles, most notably distance, that 
stood in the way of his ambition. A man 
less convinced of the near religious signifi- 
cance of the knowledge embodied in the 
collection and its arrangement would have 
scaled his vision to colonial horizons - and 
taken fewer risks with his money and his 
reputation. A man less convinced of the 
tightness of his vision and understanding 
would not have bothered to gather an 
international, representative collection. 
and Victoria would have been the poorer. 
A high priest in his cathedral of science 
for nearly half a century. McCoy created a 
museum that was the embodiment of his 
own singularity and Victorians then and 
now are the beneficiaries of that singularity. 


1 Scribe Books in association with Museum 
Victoria, November 2001. 

S, Sheels-Pyenson (I98S). 'Cathedrals of 
Science: The Development oi' Colonial Natural 
History Museums During the Late Nineteenth 
Century", p. 25. ( Magill-Qhieen's University 

Press: Kingston). 

■ ibid., 25. 

4 ibid., 26. 

1 Blarney, (i. (1957). "A Centenary History o\^ 

the University of Melbourne 1 , p. 14. (Melbourne 

University Press: Melbourne.) 

* { 1856). 'Museums in Victoria* in Transatti<nis 
of the Philosophical institute of Victoria 1, 131, 

Pascoe, G. (1997). 'Ihe University of 
Melbourne System (iarden: Whose Garden? and 
Whose System?*, p. 6. (BA Honours thesis. 
University of Melbourne.) 

* R..1.W Selleck, Manuscript of forthcoming 
History of the University of Melbourne from its 
foundation to World War U. 

See Piggot. A. and Strahan, R. (1979). 
'Trustee-Ridden: 1860-74', In 'Rare and 
Curious Specimens: An Illustrated History of* 
the Australian Museum: 1X27-1979', pp. 27-36, 


The Victorian Naturalist 

Part One 

Eds R. Strahan el at. (Australian Museum; 

" F. McCoy to R, Barry, 25 October 1856. 
McCoy Letter Book. 1. Museum Victoria 

" McCoy could not have succeeded without the 
full co-operation of Surveyor-General Andrew 
Clarke. Indeed, a rueful Blandowski wrote to the 
Argus on 24 July 1856 to say that he had been 
ordered by the Commissioner of Crown Lands 
to pack the specimens for transmission to the 
University. See also Armstrong, E*. La Trobe 
(1906). 'The Book of the Public Library, 
Museums and National Gallery of Victoria; 
1 856-1906'. p. 28. (Trustees of the Public 
Library etc.: Melbourne.) 

13 The Age and the Argus generally supported 
those who opposed the move. Sec also, cartoon 
and verse in Punch, 14 August 1856; Sheets- 
Pyenson. Cathedrals of Science, p. 53. A. 
Vt'oyal. A Bright and Savage Land. 1986 ( 1968; 
reprint, Ringwood: Penguin. 1993). 78. 

Memorandum by Professor McCoy on 'The 
Organisation of the National Museum of 
Melbourne", n.d. McCoy's papers. Museum 
Victoria Archives. 

J McCoy, F. (1857). Museums in Victoria. 
Transactions of the Philosophical institute of 
Victoria 1. 127-128. 

'" Argus, 20 June 1865 and The Illustrated 
Melbourne Post, 25 July 1865. For an examina- 
tion of this debate, see Butcher, BAY. (1988). 
Gorilla Warfare in Melbourne: llalford, Huxley 
and 'Man's Place in Nature 1 . //; 'Australian 
Science in the Making', pp. 153-169, E& RAV. 
Home. (Cambridge University Press: 
Melbourne.) See also Bulcher (this issue), 
" See Sheets-Pyenson, Cathedrals of St tent e, p. 9. 

I F. McCoy to A, Sedgwick, 14 December 
1857, quoted Selleck, Draft Manuscript. 

IH R.T.M. Pescott (1954). 'Collections of a 
Century; The History of the First Hundred Years 
of the National Museum of Victoria', p. 36. 
(National Museum of Victoria: Melbourne.) 
" Selleck, Draft Manuscript. 
" Sheete-PyenSQB, Cathedrals of Science, pp. 31 
and 74; ibid. 

II McCann, D. and Archbold, N. (in press), 
Frederick McCoy and the Conformation of the 
Global (ieological Column. In 'Geology of 
Victoria', Third Edition. Ed. W.D. Birch. Note- 
also Jackson. N.W. and Monaghan, NT. (1994). 
Frederick McCoy, An Eminent Palaeontologist 
and his Svnopses of Irish Palaeontology of 1844 
and 1846. Geology Today 1994, pp. 231-234. 
See also McCann {this issue). 

11 Wilkinson, I. (1996). The first science profes- 
sor at the University of Melbourne. History of 
Education Review IS. 63-4. 
?l McCoy, F. (1859). Transactions of the 
Philosophical Institute of Victoria 6. 7-8. 
-' McCoy. F. (1857). 'On the Foundations of 
Museum in Victoria 1 , 4. 12. {Goodhugh and 
Hough: Melbourne.) See also, Argus, 29 May 
1857 tot t«Cl of (his address. 

Pescott. Collections of a Century, p. 42. Sec 
also Fleming (this issue). 
' [bid,, S5-36. 

Sheets-Pyenson, Cathedrals of Science, p. 76. 
'Prominent Victorians', The Leader 
Supplement, 2K May 1881. See also Table Talk, 
9 January 1891. 

'" Handwritten and considerably corrected man- 
uscript in McCoy Papers. Blue Box of miscella- 
neous loose papers, Museum Victoria Archives. 

THE National MUSEUM. - In The Book of the Public Library, Museums, and 
National Gallery of Victoria,' by Mr. EX. Armstrong, M.A., LL.B., Chief Librarian, 
recently issued in connection with the jubilee of the foundation of the Melbourne 
Public Library, will be found some interesting notes of the early history of the 
National Museum ... Mr. Armstrong acknowledges [Professor McCoy] succeeded, in 
face of great difficulties, in making the Museum a credit to the colony and a tine 
memorial of its first Director; and, greatly as it has been improved since his death, the 
credit of collecting, determining, and describing a large portion of the contents will 
always belong to its first Director, whose knowledge of natural history was exception- 
ally wide, besides which he was the possessor of an extraordinarily keen memory.' 

From The Victorian Naturalist 

Vol. XXIII, No. 3., pp. 79-80 

July 5, 1906 

Vol. 118(5)2001 


McCoy Issue 

Birds, Books and Money: McCoy's Correspondence 
with John Gould (1857-1876) 

Anthca Fleming* 

Zoological museums arc either local or gen- 
eral: the Erst being as complete a series of 

species as possible of some particular local- 
ity; the latter being principally generic types 
from all parts of the world 1 (McCoy 1856). 

Between 1857 and 1870, Professor 
Frederick McCoy, Director of National 
Museum ^ Victoria, acquired for its col- 
lection about 5,000 specimens of birds 
mainly exotic - from Britain's pre-eminent 
ornithologist, John Gould, FRS. (This fig- 
ure is based on the surviving lists and 
accounts in Museum correspondence. I 
believe the figure of 10,000 specimens, 
given by Peseolt 1 and others, refers to all 
the specimens supplied by Gould, which 
included mammals, insects and shells.) Of 
these, 1,961 birds survive today, of which 
561 are mounted, and 1 .399 arc study 
skins 1 . One thousand of Gould's skin's 
were originally mounted for display. 4 
Apparently some specimens were 
exchanged with other museums in 
Australia and elsewhere, but inevitably 
many fell victims to damage from dust, 
light and destructive insects. 

The National Museum's correspondence 
files throw an interesting light on the 
development of the bird collections. Hvcn 
before McCoy's lime, 230 species of 
Victorian birds were represented' appar- 
ently donated from private collections. 
Many birds were - and still are donated, 
often with a request for identification, such 
as the hawk, "its plumage a beautiful pure 
while' [White Goshawk] sent by Andrew 
Anderson of Ballarat (19 February 1868). 
or the Regent lloneyealer sent by N. Mack 
from Warrnainbool (15 September 1879). 
But McCoy intended that the Museum 
should become a general museum, capable 
of educating the students of the University 
of Melbourne and the general public about 
the natural history of all the geographic 
regions of the world. It was essential to 

* 21 ('lurk Road, tvanhoe, Victoria 3079 

obtain specimens from beyond Victoria 
and Australia. There were also many 
exchanges with overseas museums; 
McCoy was generous with Australian 
specimens, and often included a pair of 
Lyrebirds and some Bowcrbirds in a ship- 
ment of 60 or 100 Victorian birds. 
Unfortunately only a few lists of what he 
obtained in this way seem to have sur- 
vived. Other specimens came in from the 
Acclimatisation Society, and from collec- 
tors and dealers in Australia, New Zealand 
and beyond. 

To obtain the birds for v a good systemat- 
ic Zoological Museum,' McCoy wrote to 
Gould in flattering terms, asking him no 
order ... as complete a set of good bird- 
skins as can be obtained, and for species 
[to exemplify! &e principal geographic 
groups, ... for the sum of £400. (Australian 
specimens of course to be excluded.) ... 
All should, as a sine qua non, be named 
fully." McCoy also ordered the Supplement 
to Gould's Birds oj Australia, and in a 
post-script added k Wc should particularly 
have all the strongly marked types - 
Flamingo, Hornbill, Toucan, Ostrich, 
Vulture etc' (14 September 1857). 

Gould replied promptly (7 December 
1857). 'You shall certainly have a very fine 
series, as I have the means and believe I 
have the knowledge, particularly as to their 
fair value etc. ... You may expect a portion 
to be sent off to you in a month/ He also 
offered to obtain quadrupeds, insects, shells 
and other specimens if required and recom- 
mended his publications, such as the 
Mammals of Australia, emphasizing that 
they should be ordered "from me dine!' . 
The publication of his lavish folio works 
was Gould's principal business and he saw 
Victoria as a profitable new market. 
Presumably the cost of Gould's folios and 
other authors' works led to McCoy's 1859 
estimate that one thousand pounds was 
needed to provide the Museum with its 
'books of reference for classification.'" 


The Victorian Naturalist 

Part One 

The first consignment arrived in April 
1858, packed in 4 tin-lined cases. It consist- 
ed of L021 birds, all individually named. 
Gould directed that they should be 
unpacked at once and stored in drawers or 
boxes, away from light and dust. In a fifth 
box, together with the two parts of the 
Supplement published to date, Gould sent 
samples of his publications: the Toucans, 
the Partridges of America, and sample 
parts of the Hummingbirds and the Birds of 
Asia (Letter, 25 January 1858). it will be 
impossible for you to ascertain the colours 
of the eyes and the soft parts of your birds 
when mounting them unless you have these 
publications." (The Public Library duly 
accepted all these books on McCoy's rec- 
ommendation. ) A second shipment of 
about 400 birds, plus glass eyes for use in 
mounting the skins, arrived later that year. 
This had used up the £400, at an -average 
cost per bird of just over 5s. 6d each* 
(Gould, 20 May 1858). Gould complained 
that "naming the species had been much 
more work than expected.' This was to be a 
perennial complaint. 'Many species are ... 
not available at present. (Mease say if 1 
should purchase desiderata and say what 
sum per annum etc. Rarer forms will be 
more expensive/ In a postscript he asked 
McCoy to obtain, by loan or purchase, 'one 
or two eggs of Menura superha to figure 
from\ and in due course received one. 

In reply to a letter from McCoy (not 
found, perhaps never entered in the Letter 
Book). Gould wrote ( 1 1 January 1859) that 
he had sent quadrupeds and birds from 
parts of Australia outside Victoria and 
NSW, besides some from Norfolk Island 
and New Zealand. He suggested that the 
Museum should have its own copy of the 
Mammals of Australia. 

Business between McCov and Gould set- 
tled down for some years into roughly 
annual shipments of birds, sometimes with 
nests and eggs and other specimens, and 
books. Payment w r as made via Victoria's 
Colonial Agent General in London. Gould 
(or his secretary' Edwin Prince) drew up a 
financial statement at the end of each year, 
and Gould posted it next February. 

Nineteenth century discoveries o\' new 
fauna in newly explored regions were one 
result of Luropean exploration and colonial 
expansion. Alfred Russel Wallace's collec- 

tions in the Last Indies and New r Guinea 
led him to recognize the abrupt boundary 
(now known as Wallace's Line) between 
the Oriental and the Australian zoogeo- 
graphic Regions - which he discussed in 
1859 s . In April that year (14 April 1859) 
Gould enquired: 'Am 1 still to collect for 
you? Fine things from the Aru Islands and 
New Guinea collected by Mr Wallace 
fetched high prices - Birds of Paradise five 
pounds each, the dealers are now re-selling 
at a profit. May 1 spend £100 a year for 
vou.'* McCoy responded at once. On the 
19 June, in a letter briefly summarized in 
the Letter Book, he gave instructions for 
the purchase of Wallace's Birds of 
Paradise. No price limit is mentioned in 
the summary in the Letter Book. 

On 15 February 1860, Gould told 
McCoy: 'Large collections are now diffi- 
cult: they contain what you already have. 1 
In his nexl consignment (arrived April 
1861 ) "I have sent as much variety as pos- 
sible, including females to match male 
Hummingbirds you have." The only 
Wallace specimen mentioned was 'a splen- 
did New Guinea swallow (Detulra- 
chelidonY . A pair of Neomorpha [ I iuias] 
from New Zealand - in high demand 
because of the different beaks of the two 
sexes - would now be priceless, as the 
species was extinct by 1910, probably 
through over-collecting. 

In this letter. Gould showed himself up to 
the minute with current events, saying thai a 
scries of Common Pheasants Phasianus 
colcfricus, including 'crosses' and white and 
pied birds, would "illustrate Darwin's theory 
of artificial and "natural selection"/ The 
Origin of Species had first appeared only on 
22 November 1859. (McCoy's strong disap- 
proval of Darwin's work on 'progressive 
development 1 is well-known.) Insects and 
birds' eggs were also sent. At this stage 
Gould had £143 in hand and suggested some 
high-priced birds - 'Surely your rich colony 
will not be behind the British Museum?' The 
temptations on offer included Balaeniceps 
rex (the Shocbill) at £20, a new f Bird of 
Paradise Semioptera wallacei (Wallace's 
Standardwing) £14, the extinct Nestor pro- 
diutus (Norfolk Island Kaka) K a large sum 
every year it will become dearer. Tell me if 
you have Menura alherti I could send a 
pair. Let me know by return of post.' 

Vol. 118(5)2001 


McCoy Issue 

McCoy repeated his request for 
Wallace's material (24 April 1860), appar- 
ently in forceful terms. Gould (22 February 
1861) replied: 'Many of the birds now sent 
out were collected by Wallace. Your last 
note wishing me to beg borrow or steal 
anything sent home by him arrived after 
the present shipment had been forwarded: 
it matters little as I could not have pro- 
cured you more ... I am now not only out 
of funds but you arc a little in my debt ...' 
Such birds as female hummingbirds were 
difficult to name - a single bird might take 
an hour, even if he did not have to take it 
to the British Museum. 'I mention this to 
show I have some claim on you - if new 
species should be brought in ... [they] 
should be sent to me to be figured in my 
publications... Please support my books... 

"And now my friend, let me beg of you to 
write a little oftener ... whether you get 
any new birds or quadrupeds ...* 

McCoy wrote (24 August 1862) asking 
again for more of Wallace's birds, and to say 
that, as Could had requested, he was for- 
warding a pair of Victorian Lyrebirds, 
together with a Chestnut-crowned Babbler 
and a description and drawings of the Hairy- 
nosed Wombat from South Australia 9 . 

On 13 August 1862 Gould wrote to 
announce the despatch of two cases - 500 
fine birds in one, a few more birds and some 
books in the other. He promised another 
consignment later, but T must now tell you 
that I have for some time been without Hinds 
and you are in debt to me for some portion 
of the Birds and Books now sent, when con- 
venient let me have a remittance 

McCoy's career as Director was a contin- 
uous scries of financial struggles with 
Victorian Governments - he had no notion 
of confining his expenditure to what the 
government fell it could afford. In late 
1861/' he agreed to 'observe the strictest 
economy . . . consistent with the efficiency 
of [the Museum]. ' From this time on, 
Gould was repeatedly irritated by McCoy's 
lateness with payments. 

The expenses of construction of the new 
National Museum building in the 
University grounds led to a reduction in 
McCoy's annual grant, from £2,500 to 
£1,500 - though his pleas that he was com- 
mitted to overseas purchases restored it to 
the larger sum". 

The books would certainly have added to 
the debt, as they included a complete 
bound copy of the Hummingbirds and the 
Toucans, apparently sent on approval. But 
the large case of birds proved an unpleas- 
ant shock (25 October 1862): 

'You will 1 am sure regret to hear ... 
nearly half of [the birds] arrived so full of 
moth and living larvae that they could not 
be used and many of them had to be put 
into the fire at once. The Colymbus septen- 
trionalis and glacialis [Loons] were the 
most complete mass of living larvae I ever 
saw and I think it was from them ... that all 
the mischief came. The fine Mycteria sene- 
galensis [Saddlebill Stork] was full of the 
larvae ... many others were quite destroyed 
before their arrival. None of those you were 
kind enough to send before had the slight- 
est thing the matter with them. 

4 I hope that by today's mail the Treasurer 
will send £100 to the order and next mail I 
hope to send some more. Pray send me ... 
Wallace and everybody else's rare birds 
and also his Cuscus and other rare 
quadrupeds ...' 

McCoy had begun this letter with lavish 
plans to obtain skins of large quadrupeds - 
beginning with African and Indian Lions, 
Tiger, deer, bears etc. - to be mounted by 
the best English taxidermists. Perhaps 
those that died in English zoos and 
menageries might be obtained? 

Gould (13 May 1863) gave this short 
shrift as 'not practicable'. Zoo specimens 
became mangy and emaciated, and in any 
case the British Museum had first call. The 
cost of shipping large mounted specimens 
would be unthinkable. His irritation was 
well-founded - the Victorian Treasurer had 
indeed sent him £100 in August, but no 
second payment had followed, and Gould 
was now owed £132 and a penny. "How is 
this? You really cannot expect large col- 
lections to be transmitted if you do not 
send the means for their purchase.' 

He complained that McCoy had not 
acknowledged the Hummingbirds - 'one 
really ought to be advised of such things. 
Pray do not become like most colonial men 
less punctual than you would have been in 
the "Old Country". Despite the debt, he 
was sending more birds - 138 specimens - 
'Good things are now rare and difficult to 
obtain - you have the cream - still there 


The Victorian Naturalist 

Part One 

are others procurable but you must send 
me the requisite funds. 1 

It seems surprising thai Gould was pre- 
pared to continue to extend credit, even for 
a comparatively small consignment of 
birds. However he could not well break off 
the subscriptions to his costly books, 
which were his main source of income. 
Besides, he could not risk losing contact 
with those who might inform him of novel- 
ties or send him specimens. 

Ninety-five pounds' worth of birds, and 
books, including the first two parts of The 
Birds of Great Britain (and some others 
intended for the Public Library), were sent 
off in April 1863, but again no remittance 
was made. On 19 September 1863 Gould 
wrote: 'Month after month rolls on and 1 
do not receive either a letter or a remit- 
tance from you. I know the enervating 
character of your climate ... but you really 
ought to favor me with a line oftener ..." 
Sending the books for all Melbourne sub- 
scribers in the same case saved freight 
costs, but was a fruitful source of confu- 
sion as to which institution owed what 
sum. Subscribers to different works includ- 
ed the Public, University and Parlia- 
mentary Libraries. 

McCoy's explanation of his current 
financial problems was written on 25 May 
1864. First the 'unexpected expenses' 
brought about by books sent on approval 
had caused the cost over-run. Next, 'the 
Colonial Agent General had paid one of 
my correspondents about £500 more than I 
had authorized ... and your additional bal- 
ance was then left unprovided for. 
although but for the books it had not 
arisen. By next mail ... 1 shall be able to 
send a remittance../ He complained in 
turn that the pair of Victorian Lyrebirds 
which he had sent had never been 
acknowledged, 'nor the drawings and 
description which 1 sent of the new South 
Australian [Hairy-nosed) Wombat.' From 
the Lyrebirds, Gould in I 862 had 
described 1 " a new species Menura victori- 
ae, (now reduced to a subspecies); it was 
named for the Queen, not the Colony. 

McCoy was able to send £50 in June 
1864; 'the remainder would go now, but 
for a difference of opinion in the Treasurer 
and Chief Secretary's office. 3 On 23 July 
he promised the remaining £32 'by the 

next mail', but seven months later it was 
still unpaid. 

Could wrote (24 February 1865); "Your 
account has never been balanced since the 
commencement - a spread of eight years/ 
He asked for the £32 plus another 17 
guineas for books, totalling £49, seventeen 
shillings and a penny. T will then most 
readily go on and collect all I can for you/ 
Another case of books was on its way, but 
clearly there would be no more birds till 
matters were settled. 

McCoy answered that he had already sent 
£50 in February (25 April 1865), and 
would have forwarded £25 more but for 
the breakdown of the mail steamer. 'I have 
sent to the Treasurer to request that £25 be 
forwarded ... We have scarcely any 
Psittaeidae of India. Africa and America 
... Paradise Birds would be very welcome 
../ The £25 was sent in June 1865. 

Gould (16 September 1865) was rather 
annoyed; the draft for £25 had arrived, but 
could not actually be cashed for another 60 
days. But he was sending more birds and 
books, and announced the publication o\' 
his Handbook to the Birds of Australia - a 
summary of the text of his folio volumes. 
McCoy (24 November 1865) wrote that he 
would be 'most happy to subscribe to your 
new book ... and to sound its praise in all 
quarters'. In fact he had some criticisms, 
and when in 1869 he came to write a series 
of articles, under the pen-name Microzoon, 
in The Australasian on 'Our Colonial 
Birds' (25 September 1869) he summa- 
rized them: the lack of measurements, 
(very useful for identification 'in the 
hand/) and the lack of the 'generic charac- 
ters', as many readers had no idea 'under 
what generic head to look/ His articles 
attempted to remedy this, covering raptors, 
owls, kingfishers and many passerines. 

On 20 December 1865 Gould wrote: 
'The £50 received ... in June at last over- 
paid your long overdue account to the 
close of 1X64 by 2 shillings I Id. Since 
then 1 have received £25 and transmitted to 
you ... a collection of natural history ... to 
the amount of £65, plus books etc. makes 
the sum of £74 5s. Among the birds [is] ... 
an exceedingly rare Penguin Aptenodvtes 
forsteri [Emperor Penguin], immature it is 
true but it is so rare a bird that I never had 
a specimen in my collection although I 

Vol. 118(5)2001 


McCoy Issue 

have several times offered £20 for an aduh 
to some of the officers of Ross's Antarctic 

'The Ladies, the Ladies, however have so 
stripped us of birds for their bonnets that 
but few are in the market and these of 
course are high-priced - still if it be your 
wish I shall go on collecting ... for you 
until you say Stop.'' As well as the Emperor 
Penguin, this shipment included an Andean 
Condor and many parrots and woodpeck- 
ers, plus a few small North American mam- 
mals and eggs of about 19 species. 

On 24 Aug 1 866, Gould complained that 
McCoy had not yet informed him of its 
arrival, but offered: 'Some species collect- 
ed by Wallace in islands north of Australia 
- not likely to be collected again (Fig. 1). 
Please say if required with balance of my 
last account, £49 5s. Let me know of any 
new discoveries [from] the interior for I am 
sure much remains to be discovered ...' 

McCoy sent the money (26 October 
1866), and was 'much obliged to you for 
putting by some of Wallace's birds ... You 
have left surprisingly little to be discov- 
ered in the bird way in Australia, but I 
shall be delighted of course to forward any 
novelties which may occur.' 

The next shipment from Gould (26 March 
1867) had been 'accumulating for an entire 
year - 620 species plus Naming took a 
month of my life. Duplicates cannot be 
avoided - but where possible 1 have sent 
males or females where you had only the 
opposite sex . . . you could exchange dupli- 
cates with other Australian museums.' The 
average price per bird was 5s- '[this] 
amounts to £155 which considering the 
great rise in the price of birds consequent 
on the present abominable fashion for the 
decoration of women's hats and bonnets, is 
exceedingly cheap; and I shall be obliged 
by your sending me a remittance ... as soon 
as you can.' This shipment contained no 
fewer than 50 specimens of birds collected 
by Wallace. Meanwhile, McCoy had pub- 
lished descriptions of two new species - the 
Rufous Bristlebird (Fig. 2) and the Yellow- 
rumped Pardalote (Annals of Natural 
History, 29 Dec 1866 14 ) (Fig. 3). (For the 
controversy with E.P. Ramsay on the name 
of this Pardalote see K. Hindwood (1950) 1 -, 
The Emit 49, 205.) Gould wished to borrow 
the specimens for the Supplement, 

Fig. 1. Double-eyed Fig-parrot Cvetopsitto dio- 
phthalma collected by Alfred Russel Wallace 
from New Guinea and Mysol Island. Photo by 
Anne Morton; from the Museum Victoria col- 

'1 am even more especially interested 
with the Casuarius austral Is vel C. John- 
son's Mueller. Now no-one better than you 
knows the importance of publishing a good 
figure ... there are several species of the 
group ... of which it is impossible to point 
out the distinctions without an actual com- 
parison, and surely I am the person in 
Europe who ought to do this.' 

Gould's interest had been roused by 
Ferdinand von Mueller's description of the 
first specimen of the Australian Cassowary 
in the Illustrated Sydney News (29 
December 1866) ,h . The species had been 
known since the disastrous Kennedy 
Expedition of 1848, but that specimen had 
been lost. Mueller named his bird C.john- 
sonii after its collector, and after a detailed 
description of differences with the well- 
known East Indian Cassowary wrote: 


The Victorian Naturalist 

Part One 

Fig. 2. Rufous Brisilebird Sphenuru hrouJhctili 
as described by Frederick McCoy (now 
Dasyarnis hroadbenti). Photo by Anne Morton; 
from the Museum Victoria collection. 

'Further discrepancies ... will unquestion- 
ably be pointed out by our learned profes- 
sor of natural history whenever the solitary 
specimen, which I intend to present to the 
Melbourne Zoological Museum, shall have 
arrived. ' But the specimen never appeared. 
McCoy later suggested to Gould that it had 
been intercepted' (4 February 1868). In a 
Microzoon article " (4 September 1869) 
McCoy described a young Cassowary 
'about two feet long' which had been 'very 
recently' supplied by Mueller, and com- 
pared it with a Cassowary from Ceratn of 
the same size. For this young Australian 
Cassowary, incidentally, McCoy 
exchanged a collection of 20 rare Victorian 
mammal specimens 1 *, including skins of the 
Eastern Hare- wallaby Lagorchestes lep- 
oroides and the White-tipped Sticknest Rat 
Hapaloiis apicalis - both now extinct. 
Mueller also provided a 'portion of the skin 
of the adult Cassowary' 4 and received in 
return 'two dozen Victorian birds not found 
near Melbourne, and one the Red-capped 
Pomatorhinus [BabblerJ only described a 
few years ago, as a slight exchange for the 
Casuarius with which you enriched the 
Museum' {26 June 1869)> 

On 26 June 1867, McCoy sent the 
Pardalote and Bristlebird to Gould on loan. 
On 26 September (a letter omitted from 
Letter Book), he forwarded two specimens 
of what he believed to be a new Honeyeater 

Ptilotis leadbeateri (Helmeted Honeyeater), 
named after his able assistant. Gould was 
dismissive - 'a bird ... long since named P. 
cassidix by Jardine ... 1 have figured it in 
the new part of my Supplement. ' (20 
November 1867). In fact McCoy's descrip- 
tion was published in the Annals on the 
same day as Gould's in the Supplement, 1 
December 1867; Jardine's name, as used by 
Gould, became accepted because it was 
accompanied by an illustration 21 (Part 2, 
Plate 6). 

Gould thanked McCoy for the loan of the 
specimens, and said that in the forthcoming 
part of the Supplement he had acknowledged 
'McCoy and his Directors' liberality.' He 
concluded: 'You write and spur me on to 
collect and send birds to your Museum but 
you seldom acknowledge their arrival and 
are somewhat tardy in remitting the money I 
may have expended for you.' The balance 
due was £ 1 64 1 s - no small sum. 

McCoy (4 February 1868) promptly 
pointed out 'Pray understand that I am the 
only Director of the Museum of Natural 
Science here. 1 have the exclusive manage- 
ment of it as a head of department.' He 
was disappointed about the Honeyeater (in 
a Microzoon article McCoy later disputed 
Jardine's priority and kept the name honor- 
ing Leadbeater). 'I beg of you to believe 
that I have not overlooked the remittance 
due to you of the 1164/10/- through care- 
lessness, but owing to political contest, no 
payments have been made for 4 or 5 
months and cannot probably for two 
months more - at the same time there is no 
cause for uneasiness as the Treasury is full 
of money and all parties willing to pay 
when political contention is at an end.' 

On this occasion the delay in payment 
was not McCoy's fault. 'During 1867 ... 
Supply was refused to the Government of 
the day and money was not available for 
any of its normal functions." 1 Moreover, 
McCoy's grant was reduced by 30% and 
he was ordered not to incur any further lia- 
bilities without the approval of the Chief 
Secretary. lA 

Gould wrote, announcing another ship- 
ment and again requesting this payment on 
18 February 1868. He wrote once more on 
8 April 1868: Mt is desirable that these 
accounts should be settled as early as may 
be. besides which I really want the money. 

Vol. 118(5)2001 


McCoy Issue 

Fig. 3. Ycllow-rumped Pardalote Paniulotus 
xanthopyge described by Frederick McCoy 
(now Spoiled Pardalote Panialottis punetatns 
xanthopyge). Photo by Anne Morion; from the 
Museum Victoria collection. 

I have put away for you several interesting 
objects . . . 

I am sorry you have not yet received the 
cassowary ... 1 hear there is a specimen en 
route to London; if so I hope to get a draw- 
ing of it." 

On 24 April 1868, McCoy wrote: 1 
hoped to have been able to send the remit- 
tance by this mail, but although the 
Treasury is full of money, the contest still 
remains between the two houses of 
Parliament - but I hope to be able to send 
it by the next mail/ 

Gould, writing to say that at last he had 
an Australian Cassowary to draw (19 June 
1868), added 4 I hope you will send me the 
money next month.' A fifth part of the 
Supplement was planned 'Pray forward me 
for figuring any other new birds you may 
have,' such as Ramsay's new Orthonyx (O. 
spaldingii, the Chowchilla). 

McCoy. 19 June 1868: 'I exceedingly 
regret not being able to send you the 
money by this mail, owing to the political 
contest between the two houses of 
Parliament, but shall not fail to do so as 
soon as the money is available.' 

At last on 14 August 1868 McCoy could 
write: T have the pleasure of informing 
you that by the present mail £115 is for- 
warded to your credit ... the balance I will 
send by the next mail. Many thanks for 
your kindness in selecting the additional 

species for the Museum, which I long very 
much to receive as I have not seen a bird 
from you for a long time.' He was able to 
forward another £63 Is. on 12 October. 

On 2 Feb 1869, Gould wrote to tell 
McCoy that he was sending a case with 
530 birds, plus eggs of 15 Indian species. 
The total cost would be £132 10s. The 
average cost was between 4 and 5 
shillings, though some cost very much 
more. They included the very rare 
* Diduneuius strigirostris believed by many 
to be allied to the Dodo. 1 have been 
blamed for letting it pass out of Europe. 
[It] should be well cleaned and mounted 
and if your taxidermist is a clever hand at 
his profession, he will make it ... even bet- 
ter than the one in the British Museum/ 
[This was the Samoan Tooth-billed 
Pigeon, now believed to be extinct]. For 
the future, Gould promised interesting 
birds from Bogota and a pair of the cave- 
dwelling Guacharo or Oilbird, Steatornis 
earipensis, "These will be sent at the close 
of the present year, unless I hear from you 
that I must stop or that your funds will not 
allow you to continue/ 

This case was duly sent in December 
1 869, but McCoy did not write to Gould. 
On the 18 February 1870, Gould wrote: 

Twelve months barring six days have 
elapsed since I last wrote to you stating 
that I had a case of Birds and Books for 
you in the Yorkshire and requested to be 
favored with an answer ... On reflection I 
am sure you will say 'this is too bad!' 
Your silence really prevents me from act- 
ing for you ... and is the reason of my 
sending out ... only a small series of birds 
and a few eggs - only 34 specimens of 22 
species.' He also included the parts of the 
Birds of Great Britain, The Trogons, and 
part 5 of the Supplement. 'Besides writing 
to me I must really ask you for a remit- 
tance: your Bill enclosed shows that you 
owe me £112 14s.' 

A major change had occurred. The 
Government had passed an Act of 
Parliament (29 December 1869), to pro- 
vide for 'the incorporation and government 
of the Public Library, Museums and 
National Gallery of Victoria.'-' Fifteen 
trustees were appointed (4 February 1870), 
who were given power to make rules and 
regulations for the corporation. McCoy 


The Victorian Naturalist 

Part One 

had irrevocably lost his independence. In 
his rearguard struggles to protect the 
Museum he had built up, he had no time to 
write to Gould. Many of his orders for 
overseas material had to be cancelled at 
this period. Moreover, in 1871, changes to 
the Museum's finances meant that many 
payments, including salaries, were delayed 
for months because such business now had 
to iio. via innumerable official forms, 
through the President of the Trustees. 

Gould wrote (25 February 1871) "As I 
have not received a reply to my Letter ... of 
Feb 12. 1869 nor to that of Feb 18, 1870, I 
am naturally very desirous of knowing the 
reason of your silence ... What can be the 
cause of your not replying? Our correspon- 
dence is mainly in your interest and I do 
think that on reflection you will come to 
the conclusion that you are not using me 
well ... The debt of your Museum is 
increasing ... it now owes me £119 ... 

'I shall not in this allude to the subject in 
which we are both interested - natural his- 
tory but am realty to enter upon it when I 
again hear from you." 

At last McCoy replied; (c. 18 May 1871); 
'The delay in settling your account and in 
writing to you arises from the unsettling the 
affairs of the Museum by the appointment 
of Trustees for it and several allied institu- 
tions who so reduced and impeded all 
money transactions that 1 must beg you to 
forward nothing more until 1 am able to 
place your money in your hands. I have 
made an application to have your £119 paid 
forthwith, but cannot be certain when it 
will be forwarded as yet. I shall stop all 
expenditure for the present until matters are 
more settled. 1 In June, McCoy apologized 
for further delay - Gould's bill must be 
sent in the form requested by the trustees. 

On 25 October 1871, Gould replied; 'In 
your letter ... you say that the change in 
your Ministry has delayed the remittances 
due to me ... I have received no money 
from you since the early part of L869 and 
therefore I hope the Trustees will take my 
claim of £1 19 into consideration ... 

*I particularly regret that the action of the 
Trustees has prevented you from continu- 
ing your collection as you have thereby 
lust many very fine things from New 
(Juinea and the neighbouring islands .. 
you I know will also regret this. To be 

cramped in your endeavours to raise a 
large and fine collection for the Colony 
must be very disheartening. 

'A short time since 1 delivered to Mr 
Bam of the Haymarkct London the two 
parts of the Birds of Great Britain due to 
your Museum and they will be duly deliv- 
ered to you by his correspondent in 
Melbourne on their arrival.' Apparently 
Gould had handed over the distribution of 
his books to Bain. The bill is annotated: 
Paid by mail 2112/71. 

McCoy wrote on 27 December that year, 
apparently believing that all was well, now 
that the bill had been paid; 'Pray keep at 
least 25 pounds" worth of desiderata for us 
a year until good times come again," and 
again in 15 July 1873; *1 forward by the 
mail £20 on a/e of books etc. and hope to 
hear you will continue your kind vigilance 
for new or rare species not formerly sent, 
as the tremendous dislocation produced by 
putting the Museum in connection with a 
body o\' Trustees is settling down more 
near its good old way.' But apparently 
Gould did not respond to this suggestion, 

Gould's last letter (15 April 1876) refers 
to a shipment of books forwarded by Mr 
Bain. It shows clearly that he could no 
longer disguise his exasperation with dis- 
organized subscribers. 

'Kindly say for Heavens" sake to whom 
the case should be shipped and to which 
library Mew Guinea should be sent. This 
confusion sadly perplexes me and makes 
me say I will never send another book to 
Melbourne ... Let your secretary find to 
which Institution the other books should be 
forwarded to, if possible by return of post 
and you shall have the continuation of New 
Guinea, Pt 3 is ready containing some 
marvellously beautiful things; this and 
some fine birds shall at once be sent when 
I hear from you. 

'This New Guinea is a wonderful country 
teeming with novelties, novelties which 
bear so much upon Australia as to render it 
of great interest to you. 

'Pray then get me out of this mess with 
regard to names and payments of your 
Melbourne Institutions, and you shall have 
all early information on the subject.' 

McCoy could no longer order birds with- 
out the Trustees' approval, so it seems 
nothing came of this last offer on Gould's 

Vol. 118(5)2001 


McCoy Issue 

pari. Gould's signature now looks very 
shaky, unlike his former confident bold 
hand: it clearly shows that he was already 
affected by ill-health. Gould was by now 71 
years old; he was to die five years later on 3 
February 1881. Professor McCoy was to 
continue as Director of the Museum, despite 
all difficulties, until his own death in 1899. 

A/./?. No attempt has been made to mod- 
ernise obsolete Scientific names. Where pos- 
sible, common names have been inserted. 

All correspondence quoted is held in the 
Library of Museum Victoria. The inward 
letters of Gould and others are quoted 
from the originals. \U Coy's letters are 
taken from the Museum 's Letter Books - 
utt fortunately, often only a brief summary 
is recorded, and some letters were never 
recorded at all. Gould methodically quotes 
dates of letters received from McCoy, so 
some gaps can he identified. 

Gould's letters, 30 in all, with accounts 
and lists of specimens supplied, are gener- 
ally in good condition* though some thin 
paper is becoming brittle. Some letters, 
originally posted without envelopes, have 
suffered tearing, with loss of some text, 
when their stamps were removed by some 
unknown stamp collector. 


My sincere thanks arc due to Frank Job. Wayne 
Loiigmore and Alan Yen of Museum Victoria. 

10 Doug McCann who kindly supplied copies of 
McCoy's 'Microzoon' articles, lo Merilyn Grey 
and Anne Morton ofFNCV, and to my husband 
and son lor technical assistance. Finally. 1 must 
remember the encouragement given by the late 
Allen Mchvey to my early interest in Gould and 
his works. 


1 Pescott ( 1954), Collections of a century, 28. 
Pescotl(I954), 42. 
Wayne Longmore. pers. comm. 

I Peseott (1954), 42. 
Pescott (1 954). 1, 

" Pescott (1 954}, 44. 

A. Tulk. Librarian, Museum Victoria corre- 
spondence. 13 May 1838. 
' Wallace (1859). 
'Datlaf 1997), 432. 
1(1 Pescott (1954), 47. 
" Pescott (1954), 53. 

11 Proceedings of the Zoological Society of 
London, 1862, 23, cited by Whitlell (1954), 295. 

II Micro/.oon (McCoy) Australasian, September 
25 1869, 390-391. 

H Cited by Whittell (1954), 461. 


1 Hindwood(l950>. 
"•F. von Mueller (1 866). 

I 'Micro/oon' (McCoy) ( 1869a). 

h McCoy, letter to F. von Mueller, 9 Febi 

1869, Museum of Victoria correspondence. 

'" McCoy, letter to F. von Mueller, 28 


"McCoy, letter to F. von Mueller, 26 June 

II Mathews (1923). 'Birds of Australia', vol. 

-- 'Micro/oon' (McCoy) (1870). 
21 Pescott (1954). 65. 
1 Pescott (1954). 88. 
: Pescott (1954), 69, 
"Pescott (195-1). 74. 


Datta, A. (1997). 'John Gould in Australia: letters and 
drawings', (Melbourne University Pfess: 

Desmond, A. and Moore, .1. (1992). 'Darwin'. 

Fisher, .1. (1954). 'A history ot" Birds'. (Hutchinson: 

Gould, J. (1845-63). 'Mammals of Australia*, Ed. .1. 

Dixon. (Macmillan. 1973-76.) 
Gould, J. (1X51-69). 'Supplement to The Buds of 

Australia". (Lansdowne Press facsimile: Melbourne. 

Gould, J. (1857-1876). Museum Victoria correspon- 
Gould. J. ( 1865). 'Handbook to the birds of Australia' 

(Lansdowne Press facsimile: Melbourne, 1972,) 
Hiudwood, K.A. (1950). Pardalatus xattihQpygus: a 

competion in 'christening 1 . The Einu 49, 205. 
McCoy. F. (1857-1876). "Correspondence'. Copies and 

summaries in Letter Books 1, 2 and 3, Museum 

Victoria Library. 
'Microzoon' |P McCoy] (1869a). The new Auslralian 

Cassowary. Australasian September 4, 295. 
'Microzoon' [P. McCoy] (I8b9b), Our colonial birds: 1 

Bugles and falcons. Australasian 25 September, 390- 

'Microzoon* [P. McCoy) (1870). Pttlotis (Honey- 
eaters). Australasian May 21. 646. 
Mack, G. (19.18). John Gould's correspondence with 

Sir Frederick McCoy. The Emu n, 2 1 2. 
Malhews. G.M. (1910-1934). 'The Buds of Australia". 

vol. 1 (1910), vol. 8 (1920), vol. II (1923-24). 

Mueller, P. (1866). Discovery of a true Cassowary in 

North-east Australia. Australasian December 29, 

1221. reproduced in Somervillc (1950). 
Peseoil, R.T.M. (1954). 'Collections of a Century', 

(National Museum of Victoria: Melbourne.) 
Rogers, K. (1988). 'John Gould's "Handbook to the 

birds of Australia*: an Index'. (RAOtJ.) 
Sauer, G.C. (1982). Mohn Gould, the Bird Man: a 

chronology and bibliography'. (Lansdowne Editions: 

Somervillc. J.D. (1950). Australian Cassowary: 

Corrigenda. The Emu 49, 214. 
van Ooslerzee, P. (1997). "Where Worlds collide: the 

Wallace Line". (Reed: Kew.) 
Wallace, A.R. (1859). Letter from Mr Wallace con- 
cerning the geographical distribution of birds Ibis 1, 

449-54. Cited by fisher, J. (1954% and van Oosler/ee 

Whiuell, t-LM. (1954). 'The Literature of Auslralian 

Birds: a history and a bibliography of Auslralian 

Ornithology'- (Paterson Brokensha: Perth.) 


The Victorian Naturalist 

Part One 

McCoy and Clarke: their Dispute Over the 
Age of Australia's Black Coal 

Roger Pierson 1 


From 1847 until his death m 1899, Professor Frederick McCoy, palaeontologist in Melbourne, main- 
mined a war oK words in Ihe scientific literature with Rev. William Clarke, geologist in Sydney* con- 
cerning the age of Australia's black coal deposits. McCoy was convinced thai the coals were all of 
Meso/oic age and Clarke, during the period from 1K47 to his death in [878, maintained equally 
vehemently that they were Palaeozoic. In fact. Clarke was correct in placing the New South Wales 
coals in the Palaeozoic, and McCoy's placing of the Victorian coals in the Meso/oic was also cor- 
rect, The two men were both particularly stubborn and neither would admit that thc\ might have 
been arguing about coals of differing ages. Both stood unbendingly by their Northern Hemisphere, 
European backgrounds, and neither would change their views in the (ace of new e\ idence from the 
Colonies. {The i ictorian Vatumtixi 118(5), 2001, 219-225.) 

For over 30 years from the middle of the 
1 9 century. Frederick McCoy and 
William Br an white Clarke conducted 
wordy battles in the scientific literature 
over a matter dear to both their hearts: the 
age of Australia's black coal beds. McCoy 
argued from Melbourne for a Mesozoic 
age, while Clarke in Sydney argued equal- 
ly strongly for a Palaeozoic age for the 
coals, fl is interesting to note that although 
Clarke maintained his belief in a 
Palaeozoic coal age for most of his time in 
Australia, lie argued for an Oolitic age in 
1841 (Jervis 1944; Vallanee 1975; 
Vallance 1981 ). The Oolitic (or oolitic as it 
was commonly written) of the 1840s was 
approximately equivalent to the Jurassic 
Period of the Mesozoic Era in modern ter- 
minology. Explaining the prevailing view 
on coal held in the mid- 1 800s. Stafford 
(1989) wrote. 'Since Carboniferous coals 
were considered of higher value as steam 
fuel, this stratigraphic battle had direct 
implications for colonial development'. As 
well as a clash of intellects between 
McCoy and Clarke, there was an underly- 
ing commercial pressure on them to assert 
that the New South Wales coals were 
Palaeozoic in age. The Palaeozoic 
'Carboniferous'' age of the time was that 
proposed by Conybcare and Phillips in 
1822 (Secord 1986). It spanned what arc 
now accepted as the Carboniferous and 
Permian Periods. 

i i i ilogy and Environment, Dcakiu 
1 I ! 'm di D I .1'npus. Clayton, Victoria U68. 

1 mail pierson 1 ';/ :ui 

Frederick McCoy's early life is covered 
elsewhere in this volume. William Clarke 
was born in last Suffolk. England in 1798 
(Grainger 1982). His formal education was 
completed at Cambridge University where 
one of his tutors was Rev. Adam 
Sedgwick, Woodwardian Professor of 
Geology. Clarke obtained his BA degree in 
1821 and his MA in 1823, and he was 
ordained in the same year, lie was accept- 
ed as a fellow of the Geological Society of 
London in 1826 (Mozley V)69). Clarke 
combined his curate's duties with poetry 
writing and the practice of geology. In 
1828 his presumed first geological publica- 
tion, in the Magazine of Natural History, 
described how he replaced a wooden han- 
dle on his geological hammer with L an 
elastic handle of leather' (see Grainger 
1982). Following severe attacks of 
rheumatism, he received medical advice 
that he should live permanently in a warm 
climate. This advice, together with his 
curiosity concerning the unknown geology 
of the colonies, led Clarke to emigrate to 
New South Wales with his family in 1839 
to take up a chaplaincy. 

Clarke continued geologising and collect- 
ing around New South Wales as he under- 
took his church ministry, just as had been 
his practice in England. He sent several 
boxes of fossils from New South Wales to 
Professor Sedgwick at the Woodwardian 
Museum in 1844, for classification. 
Sedgwick did not consider himself a 
palaeontologist and the fossils remained 
unclassified until 1847 when Frederick 

Vol. 118(5)2001 


McCoy Issue 

McCoy, at that time working as 
Sedgwick's assistant, was given the task. 
The geological paths of McCoy and Clarke 
crossed for the first time. 

McCoy (M'Coy 1X47) soon published 
the results of his classification of (he fos- 
sils, lie recognised 'abundant fossil 
remains of animals referable to the palaeo- 
zoic period 1 , and above these 'a series of 
clays, shales and sandstones, with remains 
of fossil plants and beds of coal". The 
genus Glossopterts (Fig. 1) was one Of the 
most common plant fossils thai he recog- 
nised, and he argued that it was 'never 
found in the old-coal fields, but well 
known in coal-beds of the oolitic age in 
various parts of the world', GtossOpteris 
had been described and named by 
Brongniart in 1828 in material collected 
from Ihe Newcastle Coal Measures in New 
South Wales by Robert Brown. Matthew 
Flinders 1 botanist, in 180I or I 802 (see 
Brown 1 946; Murray 1 983; Vallance 
I 975). Glossopteris was found in coal 
from India as well as from Australia by 
Brongniart, but was quite unknown in the 
European coal measures (Vallance 1 975). 

One of the new plant fossils named by 
McCoy was Cychpteris? angustifolia> a 
species that received more of his attention 
in later years. At the I 7 ( " Meeting of the 
British Association for the Advancement of 
Science in I 847, he discussed Clarke's 
'oolitic' plant fossils and slated that no 
trace existed of k any characteristic fossil of 
the old coal of Hurope or America' 
(M'Coy I 848), These 'old coals' were 
considered to be of Carboniferous age. 

Convicts first found coal on the coast 
north of Sydney in 1 79 1. George Bass, the 
explorer, had observed coal cropping out 
along the coastal cliffs as he sailed both 
northwards and southwards from Sydney 
during 1797 (Vallance 1975). Bass speculat- 
ed upon Ihe possibility of a coal basin in the 
region. At that lime. 'Lithological stratigra- 
phy still prevailed and insofar as anyone 
eared about Australian coal it was assumed 
to match European (Carboniferous) coal' 
(Vallance I98l). 

The accumulation oi" knowledge relating 
to the age of Australian coal has been doc- 
umented by Archbold (I985), Branagan 
( 1 998), Brown (1 946), Murray ( 1 983), and 
Vallance {l 975, I978, 198 1). Prominent 

Fig. I. Ghssopteris linearis (M'Coy) from 
M-Coy (1847) Plate 9; 5 and 5a. 

participants in this gathering of knowledge 
were T.L. Mitchell, P.F.. de Str/eleeki, J.D, 
Dana, J.B. Jukes, W.S. Macleay, K.W.I 
Leiehhardt, A,R.C. Sehvyn, R. Daintree, 
and o\' course McCoy and Clarke. 
Opinions expressed varied as to the age of 
the coals and as to whether or not the coal 
plant fossils were conformable with associ- 
ated marine invertebrate fossils. 

McCoy's 1847 paper classifying Clarke's 
fossils (M'Coy 1847) polarized the geolog- 
ical community when he confidently 
argued for a Meso/oic age for Australian 
black coals. By !847, Clarke had moved 
on from his 1841 belief that the coals were 
Oolitic. Based upon fossil evidence, J.B. 
Jukes, in 1842. had decided that 
'Australian coal was at least as old, and 


The Victorian Naturalist 

Part One 

probably older than, the Carboniferous 
coal of England' (see Vallanee 1981). 
Clarke adopted this position and main- 
tained it for the remainder of his life. Since 
McCoy and Clarke were prominent propo- 
nents of the ensuing Meso/oic Palaeozoic 
coal age furore in Australia, their publicly 
aired differences dominate this paper. 

In 1848. Clarke had sent a specimen to 
Sedgwick that bore impressions oi 
Glossopteris along with marine inverte- 
brate remains (Vallanee 1981). This was 
evidence of the co-cxistcnee of a plant fos- 
sil that McCoy was convinced was 
Mcsozoie with Carboniferous invertebrate 
fossils. McCoy remained silent, and amaz- 
ingly Clarke did not press the issue. 

McCoy was chosen as the first Professor 
of Natural History of the University of 
Melbourne when it opened in 1855. His 
arguments with Clarke gathered momentum. 

In I860, the Governor of Victoria and 
President of the Royal Society of Victoria, 
Sir Henry Barkly (1861) reported to a 
Royal Society of Victoria meeting thai 
specimens of the fossil plant genus 
lacniopteri.s. discovered in coal beds at 
Cape Paterson, had been exhibited at the 
meeting by Professor McCoy. McCoy had 
told the meeting of Clarke's claim that an 
absence of lueniopteris in Australian coals 
indicated that they could not be of Oolitic 
age. With this new species, Taeniopterh 
daintreei. McCoy felt he had strengthened 
his Mcsozoie age position lor the coal and 
refuted Clarke's claim (Fig. 2). (In fact, the 
coals at Cape Paterson arc Mcsozoie, and 
McCoy was correct in his assumption of 
that age based upon the fossil Taenioptetis 
daintreei. ) 

Clarke (1 86 1 a) was quick to respond to 
McCoy's assertions and wrote that, 
'Taeniopteris and Glossopteris (Sagenop- 
teris) have been the means of placing, by 
some geologists, the coal deposits of 
Australia and India in the horizon of the 
oolitic coal'. He pointed out that the genus 
Turn it//) teris may range from 
Carboniferous to Tertiary and that the age 
was determined by the species. Clarke then 
returned to McCoy's original elassi Ileal ion 
of his fossils in 1847. He wrote. 'Mr 
McCoy, who knew nothing of Australian 
plants* had 'because of the absence ofoei 
tain genera, and the presence of others 


Fig. 2. Taeniopieris, daintreei <Mc( ov) from 
McCoy (1875)Piate 14: 1. laandZ 

which have a relation lo some oolitic 
species' assumed an Oolitic age for the 
fossils he had sent lo Sedgwick in 1844. 
Clarke maintained, in this paper, that the 
coal beds were Carboniferous. 

McCoy (1861a) immediately took excep- 
tion to Clarke's comments, lie stated 'thai 
the lime of a scientific man may be bettei 
employed in endeavouring to add new 
tacts to the general store of human knowl- 
edge than m defending himself or his 
Views...*. But in this case he fell he had to 
respond, and in doing so he dissected 
Clarke's paper paragraph by paragraph, 
fighting for acceptance of his own age 
interpretation and strongly dismissing 
Clarke's Palaeozoic age for the plant fos- 
sils. McCoy accused Clarke of misrepre- 
senting the source of a specimen of 
Lepidodendron found by "an unscientific 
friend' from Queensland. In this paper. 
McCoy named a new genus, (uinga- 
mopteriSt through a specimen he called 
GangarhopierU angustifolia (fig- 3). The 
example was from Bacchus Marsh sand- 
stone. He stated thai he had previously fig- 
ured il from the New South Wales coal 
beds under the name o'i Cydopi&ris? 
angustifolia in 1847. He inferred its age to 
be Meso/oic because o\ its association 
with Glossopteris. 

In his turn. Clarke (1861b) responded lo 
McCoy's dissection of his paper. He stated 
thai lie was 'not aware, till I perused 

Vol. 118(5)2001 


McCoy Issue 

Pig. 3. Gangapiopteris angustifolia (McCoy) 
from McCov (1875) Plate 12; I: Plate 13; 2 and 

Pro&SSOr McCoy's "Commentary" on my 
letter, thai I had offered any grounds o\~ 
offence in it 1 , lie took McCoy's paper 
apart, again paragraph by paragraph, and 
proceeded to justify his belief thai 
Australia's coal bearing rocks were 
Carboniferous. On the question of the 
Lepidodendron^ he corrected McCoy and 
stated that 'the late Dr Leiehhardt, an 
excellent geologist', had recognised the 

fossil in New South Wales. The ill will 
between the two men was evident in 
almost every sentence of their papers, 
despite Clarke writing l l have no object in 
any controversy on this question but truth'. 

The bickering continued when McCoy 
(1861b) informed (he reader of the 'real 
point at issue, namely: Mr Clarke holds 
and has always held that the *Giassopteri$ 
beds" associated with the coal of New 
South Wales are Palaeozoic, and belong to 
the same geological epoch as the underly- 
ing marine beds containing Lower 
Carboniferous animal remains. I hold and 
have always held that the aforesaid 
"Crlossoptcris beds 1 ' are Mcso/oic'. 

In a paper read to the Royal Society of 
Victoria in 1861 but not published until 
1 865, Clarke { 1 865a) argued al length for a 
Palaeozoic age to be assigned to the coal 
beds of the Maitland district of New South 
Wales. He maintained that he had located 
beds 'containing fossils of the same 
Palaeozoic formation which Professor 
M'Coy has long ago determined to be at 
the base of the "Lower Carboniferous" for- 
mation of Ireland' at Maitland. 

In the same year Clarke (1865b) contin- 
ued to press his opinion against McCoys 
Oolitic age for the New South Wales coals. 
lie wrote, 'the vegetable fossils, which are 
taken as the datum for the Oolitic age of 
the coal, have been traced into a position 
between rocks assigned, from their distinc- 
tive zoological fossils, to be as low as the 
"base" of the old "Carboniferous system"*. 
He defended his stance in relation to the 
existence o\' Mesozoic formations in 
Australia by stating that, 'the existence of 
Mcso/oic formations has not been disputed 
by me; all that my position amounts to is 
the denial that the coal beds til' New South 
Wales are Oolitic'. Clarke ( 18<>le: 186(d), 
described Glossopteris and Cyciopterh in 
shale at Maitland lying beneath beds 
containing Palaeozoic marine fossils, rein- 
forcing again his Palaeozoic age for the 
associated coal. 

The Australian geological community 
must have been getting thoroughly tired of 
the sparring between McCoy and Clarke 
that was interminably ongoing through the 
respected journal of the Royal Society of 
Victoria. In reality the two individuals 
allowed their respectively entrenched posi- 


The Victorian Naturalist 

Part Otu 

iions to outweigh their intellects. McCov 
and Clarke met on at least one occasion. 
Clarke (1861a) wrote thai he had personal- 
ly shown McCoy plant fossils that he had 
taken to Melbourne. Taking into account 
the obvious hostility they showed towards 
each other in their writing, it would be 
interesting to know how McCoy and 
Clarke reacted towards one another at this 
meeting. Vallance (1 978) felt that both 
McCoy and Clarke were Mocked in a cell 
of European experience', and that 'McCoy 
remained a British palaeontologist in 
Australia, just as Clarke continued to be a 
British geologist* 

In another paper read to the Royal 
Society of Victoria in 1861 and unpub- 
lished until 1865. McCoy (M'Coy 1865a) 
reported on the age of fossils collected at 
Wollumbilla. on the Fitzroy Downs of 
Western Australia, and sent to him by 
Clarke. (Despite the animosity between the 
two. Clarke continued to rely on Mc('oy*s 
palacontological skills.) McCoy stated 
that, for the first time in Australia, he had 
found a Meso/oic marine fauna, including 
ammonites and bclemnites in this collec- 
tion. He felt that the marine deposit was of 
exactly the same age as the eastern coal 
beds; 'to the base of the Meso/oic series, 
certainly not lower than the Trias, and not 
higher, I think, than the lower part of the 
great Oolite'. 

At his Presidential Anniversary Address 
to the Royal Society of Victoria in 1864, 
McCoy (M'Coy 1865b) noted that Richard 
Daintree had 'tried to settle the points in 
dispute between Rev. Mr. Clarke and 
myself, relative to the age and position of 
the beds associated with the coal o\' New 
South Wales, but failed". Richard Daintree 
11864a; 1864b) had, in fact, detailed at 
length his belief in Clarke's observation of 
Glossopteris in shales and coal below the 
marine Carboniferous beds at Stony Creek. 
near Maitland. Daintree (1864c) repeated 
his support of Clarke's position in a brief 
abstract printed in the Bulletin tic la 
Socle te Giologigue de France, 
Interestingly, this abstract figured a mea- 
sured stratigraphical section at Maitland, 
clearly showing Glossopteris beds below 
the then undisputedly Carboniferous 
marine beds. It is difficult to understand 
how McCoy interpreted Daintrcc's reports 

as having failed to "settle points in dis- 
pute'. In 1864. William Kecnc (I 865), 
Examiner of Coal-fields, New South 
Wales, reported lhat '... Glossopteris 
accompanies the entire scries of Coal-mea- 
sures from the topmost to the lowest 
seam*. lie stated that his specimens 'will 
prove satisfactorily that the coal-seams of 
New South Wales belong to as old a geo- 
logical series as those of Europe 1 , (His 
statement did not prove to be correct.) 

McCoy (1867) took his Meso/oic coal 
age argument to the Americans with a 
paper in The American Journal of Science 
and Arts. In the same year, he (M*Cov 
1867) published his belief in the age of 
Australia's coals in the Annals and 
Magazine of \tttural History in England; 
he had published his descriptions of 
Clarke's original fossils in this journal in 
1847. He referred to species of Zamites 
and Taeni&pteris recognised from Cape 
Patcrson and Bellarine. Glossopteris and 
Belcmnitcs and Ammonites from New 
South Wales, ami Gttngamoptens from 
Victoria ami New South Wales, as positive 
proof lor a Meso/oic coal age. 

Clarke (1868) also published in The 
American Journal of Science and Arts. 
Referring to the New South Wales coal 
seams, he stated, "Up to a comparative!;, 
recent period, it was not known that under 
the marine beds below these coal seams. 
other seams occur bearing the same genera 
of plants as in the upper beds', Daintree, he 
maintained, had verified this feet. 

In his Prodromus of the Palaeontology of 
Victoria, McCoy (1875) described and 
provided plates of Victorian examples of 
three species of Gangamopteris from 
Bacchus Marsh and one of Taeniopteris 
from Cape Paierson. lie maintained lhat 
their age was Mesozok. The plates and 
descriptions for the Prodromus hail been 
prepared in the 1860s, but publication was 
delayed due to a lack of government fund- 
ing until 1875. 

In his Report on Palaeontology of (he 
Geological Survey for the year 189!,, 
McCoy (18 l )2) described a fragment of 
Si hizoncura. 'from a newly discovered 
bed just under the famous Gangamopteris 
sandstone of Bacchus Marsh'. This fossil, 
he wrote, indicated a Meso/oic (Triassic) 
age for the bed. Although the precise loea- 

Vol. 118(5)2001 


McCoy Issue 

lion of the supposed Triassic bed was not 
given, and McCoy mistakenly placed il 
below the Gangamapteris beds, the 
Sehizonettra was probably discovered in 
what is now known as the Council Trench 
Triassic outcrop at Tramway Lane, 
Bacchus Marsh. The outcrop is stratigraph- 
ically above the Gangamopteris sandstone. 
McCoy (1898) reported the finding of 
Taeniopteris sweeti in 1897 at Bacchus 
Marsh in the same sandstone beds as 
Gangamopterts angusrttfotia and found il 
'of value as indicating a Mesozoie age for 
tli is Victorian rock'. 

Clarke had died, aged SO years, in 1878. 
In that year he {Clarke 1878) published the 
fourth edition of his book Remarks on the 
Sedimentary Formations of New South 
Wales in which he remained adamant that 
the New South Wales coal beds were of 
Palaeozoic age. 

From 1847, to his death in 1899, 
Frederick McCoy always maintained that 
the plant fossils found in Australian black 
coal beds and identical fossils found in 
other, non coal-containing beds, clearly 
and unerringly indicated that the coal and 
sediments were all of Mesozoie age. He 
stubbornly refused to bend in the hope that 
he would ultimately be proved correct. 

In presenting a lecture on early 
Australian geologists. Professor B, Skeats 
(1933) wrote of McCoy stating. 'He was, 
in fact, a distinguished palaeontologist, 
rather than a geologist. There is. I believe, 
no record of his ever having undertaken 
fieldwork'. This is generally true of 
McCoy's lime in Australia; he had, howev- 
er, carried out geological (kid survey work 
in Ireland in the 1840s (Anon 1899; Anon 
1900) and with Adam Sedgwick in Wales 
in the early 1850s (Secord 1986). Clarke's 
geological work, in contrast, was based 
upon numerous collecting journeys to the 
field and upon his observations made 
there. Perhaps it was inevitable that two 
men with such differing approaches to 
their science should have vigorously 
defended such opposing views on the age 
of Australia's coal beds. 

\s Darragh (1992) reasoned, 'Neither 
McCoy nor Clarke realised that they were 
arguing about two different series of rocks 
of widely different ages. In the end McCoy 
was right about the Mesozoie age of the 

Victorian coal bearing rocks, and Clarke 
was right to regard those of New South 
Wales as Palaeozoic. Both scientists did not 
come out of this controversy very well, 
because neither was prepared to accept the 
new evidence of the other but argued from 
a predetermined position based on outdated 


Anon. (1X99) Obituary; Professor Sir Frederick 
McCoy. K.C'.M.c;.. M.A., D.Sc. (Cantab), F.R.S 
I-.G.S. the Geological Magazine New Series Decade 

Anon, ( I WO). Obiluary Notices of Fellows deceased: 
Professor Sir Frederick McCoy, In 'Year Book of the 
Royal Society of London*, pp. I96-I9S. (Harrison 
and Sons; London,) 

Archbold. N.W. (1985), Nineteenth cental? views on 
Hie Australian marine Permian Earth Sciences 
History 5, 13-23, 

Barkly, M. (1861). A report on specimens exhibited by 
Prolcssor McCoy a! the Royal Society of Victoria 
ordinary meeting of lime 4th I860. Proceedings, &c, 
transactions of the Royal Society of Vietoria from 
January to December I860, inclusive 5. x, 

Branagan. D. (1998). The Pole and the Australian 
Permian. Proceedings of (he Royal Society of 

Victoria MO, I -JO. 
Brown, LA (1946). An outline of the history of 
palaeontology in Australia. The Proceedings of the 
Linnean Society of New South Wales 71, v-xviii.' 

Clarke, W.B. (186 In). A communication from the 
Reverend W.B. Clarke of Sydney, to His Excellency 
Sir Henry Barkly. K.C.B.. &c, &e„ President of the 
Royal Society of Victoria, on Professor McCoy's 
new Taeniapt&rti from the coal-bearing rocks of the 
Cape Paterson district in particular, ami on the evi- 
dence bearing on Ihe question of the age of 
Australian coal beds in general, transactions of the 
Royal Society of Victoria, from January to December 
i860, inclusive 5, 89-95 and Proceedings I I. 

Clarke, VV U, (186 lb). Remarks on Professor McC ov's 
commentary. Transactions of the Royal Society ot 
Victoria, from January to December T36Q, inclusive 
5. 209-2 14 and Proceedings 23. 

Clarke, W.B. < IK6le). On the geological age of the 
coal-bearing rocks of New South Wales. The 
Geofogisr, 209. 

Clarke. W\ (IXhld). Lxtrait d'une lettre dc M. W.B. 
Clarke a M. d'Archiac. Bulletin tie la Societe 
Geotogique dc Prance 1861 lo 1862, 669-673. 

Clarke. W.B. (1865a). On the coal seams near Stony 
C reek (junction of Singleton and Wollombi roads), 
West Mailland district. New South Wales. 
Transactions and Proceedings of the Royal Society "I 
Victoria, during the years 1861 to ISM, inclusive h 
27-3 1 widi 2 Plates between 32 and 33. 

Clarke, W.B. ( 1865b) On the Carboniferous and other 
geological relations of the Maranoa district in 
Queensland in reference to a discover} of zoological 
fossils in Wollombilla Creek and Stony Creek, West 
Mankind. Transactions and Proceedings of the Royal 
Society of Victoria, during the years IS6! to 1864 
inclusive 6, 32 - 42 and Proceedings 1 v 

Clarke. W.B (IS68). Remarks on the sedimentary for- 
mations of New South Wales, illustrated by reference 
to other provinces of Australia. The American Journal 
of Science and 4rb. Set ond Serivs 45. 334-35 * 

Clarke, W B. (1878). -Remarks on the Sedimentary 
Formations o\ New South Wales'. 4" 1 Edition 
( I nomas Richards, ( iovemment Printer: Sydney.) 


The Victorian Naturalist 

Part One 

Daintree, R, (1864a). The age of New South Wales 
coal-beds. The Colliery Guardian 20 February, 1864. 

Daintree, R. (1864b). Colonial geology. Age of the 
New South Wales coal-beds. The Geologist 72-79. 

Daintree. R. (1864e). Note de M. D'Arehiae ... une lel- 
tre de M. W.B. Clarke accompagnant un numero de 
journal The Yeoman Australian aeclimatiser de 
Melbourne. 29 aoul 1863. dans lequel se trouve une 
faite par M. Daintree. Bulletin de la Societe 
Geologique de France 1863 to 1864. 33. 

Durratdi. T.A. (1992). Frederick McCoy. The Fossil 
Collector 36. 15-22. 

Grainger. E. (1982). 'The Remarkable Reverend 
Clarke'. (Oxford University Press: Melbourne.) 

Jervis, J. (1944). Rev, W.B, Clarke M,A., F.R.S., 
F.G.S., F.R.G.S. The father of Australian geology. 
Royal Australian Historical Societv Journal anil 
Proceedings 30, 345-458. 

Keene, W. ( 1 865). On the coal-measures of New South 
Wales, with Splrifer. Glossopteris, and Lepido- 
dendron. Quarterly Journal of the Geological Society 
of London 21. 137-141, 

McCoy, F, ( 1 861a). A commentary on 'A communica- 
tion made by the Rev. W. B. Clarke to His Excellency 
Sir Henry Barkly. K.C.B.. &c«, President of the Royal 
Society of Victoria on Professor McCoy's new 
7 aeniopteris, &e.. &e.\ Transactions of the Royal 
Society of iictona. from January to December I860 
ifli lusfre 5. 96-107 and Proceedings! p 1 1. 

McCoy, F. (1861b). Note on ihe Re\ Mr. Clarke's 
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McCoy. F. (1867). On the palaeontology of Victoria, 
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McCoy, F. (1875). Gangamopteris ungustifolia 
(McCoy), and var G sputulaia and G ohliqua, and 
Taemoptcris damtreei (McCoy). Prodromus of the 
Palaeontology of Victoria or Figures and 
Descriptions of Victorian Organic Remains. Decade 
2. pp. 11-13. plates 12-13. (Geological Survey of 
Victoria: John Ferres, Government Printer: 

McCoy, F. (1892). Report on palaeontology of the 
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McCoy. F, ( 1 898). Notes on an additional genus of fos- 
sil plains found in (he Bacchus Marsh sandstone. 
Proceedings of the Royal Society of Victoria (NSj 

M'Coy, F. (1847). On the fossil botany and zoology of 
the rocks associated with the coal of Australia. 
Annals and Magazine of Natural History 20, 145- 

M'Coy. F. (1848). On plants of the New South Wales 
and Van Diemen's Land coal-fields. Report of the 
Seventeenth Meeting of the British Association for 
the Advancement of Science; held at Oxford in June 

M'Coy, F. ( 1865a). Remarks on a series of fossils col- 
lected at Wollumbilla, and transmitted by Rev. W.D. 
Clarke, of Sydney. Transactions and Proceedings of 
die Royal Society of Victoria, during the years 1861 
to 1864, inclusive 6, 42-46. 

M'Coy. F, (1865b). Royal Society of Victoria, 
Anniversary Address of the President, Frederick 
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Proceedings o/ the Royal Society of Victoria during 
the years IHbl to 1864, inclusive b, 63-99. 

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IVale^UiQ, 13-43. 

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Vallanee, T.G, ( 1981 ). fhe fuss about coal Troubled 
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Carrand S.M.G, Carr. (Academic Press: Sydney.) 

Vol. 118(5)2001 


McCoy Issue 

Frederick McCoy's Anti-evolutionism - 
the Cultural Context of Scientific Belief 

Barry W. Butcher 1 

June 1865 and excited Melbournians arc 
flocking to the National Museum of 
Victoria to see the latest arrival a gorilla, 
the first (albeit stuffed) to arrive in the 
Antipodes. Centrepiece of a glass-encased 
'family' of great apes, it represents the 
successful culmination of the Museum 
Director's three-year effort to acquire a 
specimen of this the largest and most 
recently 'discovered' of the anthropoids 
(Butcher 1988; Fig. 1). Nearly a century 
and a half later we can only speculate on 
the reasons why attendance at the museum 
doubled in the weeks after the first appear- 
ance of Gorilla gorilla in the booming 
post-goldrush metropolis of Melbourne. 
Were they expecting to sec a ghastly 
human alter ego. a monstrous, degraded 
creature, human-like but manifestly not 
human, embodying perhaps all the worst 
features of humanity, all the vices and 
none of the virtues? Or were they there to 
see and be impressed by humanity's most 
recently discovered long lost relative? 

Of course we can never definitively 
answer the question; these first Australian 
viewers of the gorilla stand as far apart 
from us culturally and historically as we do 
biologically from the poor grinning crea- 
ture in the glass case does. We do know- 
however what first drew them in such large 
numbers - a letter from the Museum 
Director himself, Frederick McCoy, pub- 
lished in the local newspaper, the Argus. It 
was a letter of exhortation, calling on 
Melbournians to come and see the new 
arrival so as to adjudge for themselves. 
... how infinitely remote the creature is 
from humanity, and how monstrously writ- 
ers have exaggerated the points of resem- 
blance when endeavoring to show that man 
is only one phase in the gradual transmuta- 
tion of animals, which they assume may be 
brought about by external influences and 
which they rashly assert is proved by the 

1 Faculty of Arts. Deakin University, Geelom> Campus 
PigdonS Road, Waurn Ponds. Victoria 3216. 

intermediary character of the gorilla 
between the Other quadramana and man 
(Aigus 1865), 
No clearer statement of disbelief in 'the 
development hypothesis' is likely to be 
found in the first years after the publication 
of Charles Darwin's Origin of Species in 
1859. That McCoy detested evolutionary 
theory is clearly the case, but the battle 
over 'Man's Place in Nature', sparked off 
by Thomas Henry Huxley's book of the 
same name, provided the first opportunity 
in Australia for public discussion of 
Darwinism and its implications for both 
science and society. McCoy's letter was as 
much a shot in this battle - aimed clearly 
at Huxley and his supporters - as it was a 
promotional piece for the Museum. 

But to say that McCoy was anti- 
Darwinian is in fact to say very little; an 
earlier historiography of science, viewing 
the 'Darwinian revolution' through post" 
Darwinian eyes, would have dismissed his 
position as that of an outdated scientist, a 
doomed representative of an earlier age of 
science when Natural Theology held sway. 
But this approach will not do anymore; 
thirty years of careful scholarship have 
shown just how complex the issues sur- 
rounding this debate over evolution really 
were. Perhaps the first intimations of this 
complexity came in the groundbreaking 
work of Robert Young in the early 1970s, 
when Darwinian scholars were reminded 
that ideas draw their importance from the 
specific social and intellectual contexts in 
which they originate and that their origin is 
itself the product of multiple cultural 
resources. Since then Adrian Desmond has 
brilliantly dissected 'the politics of evolu- 
tion', demonstrating how social structure 
and class interest played a role in the myri- 
ad ways in which pre-Darwinian evolu- 
tionary theories were used in political and 
social debate, while James Moore and 
James Secord have built on Young's work 
to show again how cultural resources are 
utilised and in turn utilise scientific theory 


The Victorian Naturalist 

Pari One 

,MU U «'« Miw»tHu.-»» »«™ tw 

Fig. t. The gorillas at the museum. A wood engraving by Samuel Calvert 1865. La Trobc Picture 
Collection, Slate Library ofVictoria 

and practice. Simple stones of winners and 
losers in the development of science no 
longer cut the mustard (Young 19S5; 
Desmond 1989; Desmond and Moore 
1991; Sccord 2000). 

What I wish to do in this paper is to 
briefly look again at McCoy in the context 
of his scientific, social and cultural back- 
ground. I want to suggest, albeit specula- 
tively, that rather than his rejection of evo- 
lutionary theory being out of step with his 
scientific career it sits easily with his roles 
as geologist, Museum Director and 
Colonial scientific spokesman. I am not 
suggesting that there is full consistency in 

his position, only that it makes his involve- 
ment in a particular m i d - V i c t o r i a n 
Colonial cultural setting more interesting, 
more complex and more historically fasci- 

Learning his trade 

As James Secord and contributors to this 
volume have shown, McCoy owed his geo- 
logical training to two patrons who just 
happened to be giants of nineteenth-centu- 
ry British science Roderick Murchison 
and Adam Sedgwick (Sccord 1986). While 
both were opposed to evolutionary theory 
o\' any kind, it was Sedgwick who most 

Vol. 118(5)2001 


McCov Issue 

stridently spoke out against it. In his mas- 
sive critical review of Robert Chambers 
Vestiges of the Natural History of 
Creation, written in 1845, a year before 
McCoy became his assistant, he thundered 
against a theory of cosmological evolution 
that was factually inaccurate, based on a 
poor philosophy of science and most cru- 
cially that 'annulled all distinction between 
physical and moral' and reduced human 
reason to nothing more than a development 
of animal instinct (Sccord 2000: 245). 
Sedgwick was an evangelical Anglican, 
seeing in science not only The possibility of 
producing greater material wealth, but a 
moral trope that justified religion and the 
social order. McCoy moved from being an 
Irish Catholic, with all the social and pro- 
fessional disadvantages that entailed in 
mid-century Britain, to High Anglicanism. 
When in his later career in Australia he 
look up arms against the more dangerous 
evolutionary theory espoused by Darwin 
and championed by Huxley. Sedgwick's 
rhetoric still seemed to be ringing in his 
ears. In the meantime, however, he needed 
a job; according to Sccord, his early work 
was not highly thought of in British scien- 
tific circles and his involvement in a long 
and bitter geological spat between his for- 
mer and current patrons placed him in a 
difficult position. When Australia beck- 
oned, both Murchison and Sedgwick came 
to the parly and supported him for the 
Chair of Natural History at the University 
of Melbourne (Secord 1986; Wilkinson 
this issue). It was a decision that almost 
certainly saved his career: his contempo- 
rary James Salter, considered by many the 
better geologist, struggled on in near 
penury in a Britain where good positions in 
science were almost impossible to find, 
before finally conceding defeat and throw- 
ing himself into the Thames. For McCoy, 
the future might lie in a colony half a 
world away but it paid well and eventually 
led to honours he could never have expect- 
ed had he stayed in the metropolitan cen- 
tre, among them a knighthood, and perhaps 
the best of all, an FRS. When he left 
Britain in 1854 he took with him a goodly 
number of professional debts, to Sedgwick 
in particular. And as I implied above, 
among these was an aversion to evolution- 
ary theory. At one level his sorties against 

evolution can be seen as repaying some of 
those debts: he could bring credit to his 
patrons by opposing theories which defied 
the religious, social and scientific outlook 
which they had done so much to foster. As 
it turned out, in Melbourne he found an 
establishment elite largely attuned to hear 
that message. 

Going public against evolution: the 
social context of a scientist's actions 

McCoy's involvement in the 'gorilla 
war* in Melbourne in the early 1860s was 
largely confined to offering material 
ammunition - anatomical specimens from 
the Museum and ultimately the gorilla 
itself. Statements of support came only 
within the confines of scientific meetings, 
especially the Royal Society of Victoria. In 
a sense this is a case of presenting creden- 
tials, demonstrating supporl for the domi- 
nant establishment view. And here 'estab- 
lishment* encompasses both the scientific 
community and the political and religious 
elites in the colony - the presence and 
involvement of the Victorian Governor 
Henry Barkly. Anglican Bishop Charles 
Perry and the prominent Roman Catholic 
John Bleasdale on the side of those oppos- 
ing evolution ensured that an official line 
would emerge and be clearly identified for 
public consumption in the press (Butcher 

In 1869 and 1870 when McCoy present- 
ed his most celebrated public protest 
against evolution he did so in a forum 
where the same establishment interests 
were to the fore. The Early Closing 
Association had its origins in the concern 
of prominent Melbourne citizens to 
counter the rise of anti-religious and free- 
thinking groups; local businesses were 
encouraged to close for a period on one 
day of each week in order to allow workers 
to attend lectures on political, religious and 
scientific subjects. By then McCoy was an 
important figure in the social and scientific 
fabric of the colony, his scientific ortho- 
doxy, as defined by establishment inter- 
ests, unimpeachable. With that bastion of 
respectability, judge Sir Redmond Barry in 
the Chair, he prefaced his first lecture with 
the comment that in a previous talk he had 
been criticised for saying that \.. the high- 
est scientific authorities with whom he was 


The Victorian Naturalist 

Pari One 

personally acquainted were among the 
most humble-minded believers of the great 
religious truths that could be found in any 
pan of the community* (McCoy 1870: 1). 
Thus at the outset, his audience was left in 
no doubt about the relationship between 
true science and true religion. The great 
figures of science - Sedgwick and 
Murchison pre-eminently - provided proof 
that the two could, indeed must, be held 
together. The lecture itself simply rein- 
forced the message, with an account of the 
Biblical story of creation rendered in the 
light of modern science, and reiteration of 
the message that science rightly under- 
stood was an invaluable aid to religion. For 
the body of his criticism of evolutionary 
theory he drew on Sedgwick's earlier 
attack on Vestiges, bolstered by his own 
observations in Australia. To account for 
the geographical distribution of animals 
and plants he turned to the 'centres of cre- 
ation' theory of the Swiss-American zoolo- 
gist Louis Agassiz whereby the flora and 
fauna of the world could be divided into 
six zoological provinces in both hemi- 
spheres. Each province had its own 
autochthonous life forms that had been 
created for the particular conditions exis- 
tent at the time. Similarities between 
groups of animals and plants that were 
often geographically distant were 
explained not by recourse to any genetic 
relationship but as the working out of a 
divine plan. Discussing the idea of such 
provinces McCoy used the examples of the 
Ostrich, Rhea and Emu to show that simi- 
larity of form and habit could not be 
assumed to mean common ancestry, for 
... there could be no question of one of 
these forms having grown out of the other 
by a difference in surroundings for the 
ostrich has two toes, and the Australian 
and South American forms three a 
change not required and all three thriving 
when introduced into any one of the locali- 
ties by man (McCoy 1 870). 
At the level of the particular such as this 
case epitomises, McCoy showed little 
regard for Darwinism, giving some support 
to the claim that he may never have read 
the Origin of Species, it is doubtful that 
had he done so he would have changed his 
view what whs to be deplored was 6 the 
development hypothesis' itself which. 

whatever the mechanism underlying it, 
would not fit either his science, his religion 
or the traditional values he drew from 
both. He was Sedgwickian in outlook 
through and through. But a more provoca- 
tive claim might be made which gives a 
fascinating twist to the story: McCoy was a 
geologist, and as Darwin himself admitted, 
geology offered little immediate support 
for the theory of evolution. McCoy's 
stance then was. even in 'scientific' terms, 
a reasonable one. As Susan Shccts- 
Pyenson points out in her study of nine- 
teenth-century museums, other palaeontol- 
ogists given the task of building up these 
'cathedrals of science", such as Hermann 
Burmcister in Argentina and William 
Dawson in Canada, also treated evolution 
with suspicion (Sheets-Pyenson 1988). 
Rather than being a scientific eccentric 
then, McCoy fitted a pattern; and when 
one adds to Sheets-Pyenson 's list McCoy's 
opposite number in Sydney, Simon Pittard, 
this claim gathers further strength. 

In his old age McCoy complained that he 
had not been provided with enough money 
to organise the museum according to his 
acceptance of Agassiz's theory of 'centres 
of creation' (McCoy papers 1898). 

The University - a centre of anti- 

The Australian physicist William 
Sutherland complained that when he 
attended McCoy's lectures at the 
University of Melbourne in the 1870s he 
was constantly subjected to anti-Darwinian 
sentiment as McCoy 'thundered against' 
evolutionary theory. Worse, examination 
papers were laced with questions requiring 
students to critique evolutionary theory 
(Osborne 1920). 

Was this all simply an obstinate rejection 
of a naturalistic theory that was rapidly 
overtaking his own providential philosophy 
o( science? At one level it was certainly a 
rejection of that theory, but this was just one- 
side of the coin. For forty years McCoy had 
worked tirelessly to uncover the secret of 
Australia's geological past; if his early work 
in Britain had indeed been poorly thought 
of, his Australian work was groundbreaking 
and original, as other papers in this volume 
show. Rejection of a given theory then, did 
not determine the quality of the work done. 

Vol. 118(5)2001 


Mt ( by Issue 

Discussion ami Conclusion 

Inwards the end of his life McCoy was 
showered with honours; a knighthood in 
IS9I, an imperial award he could hardly 
have dreamed of when he left lor Australia 
in 1X54, and of even greater significance 
for understanding his scientific career, 

admitted to Fellowship or the Royal 

Society of London. The Irish Catholic 
turned Anglican had now entered into the 
highest realms of the social and scientific 
establishment. His achievements recog- 
nised by a scientific community that no 
longer shared his understanding of science 
rewarded him for his contribution to the 
understanding of Australia's paleonlologi- 
cal history. What then did his anti- 
Dai winian stance do to his career? In one 
sense nothing; it fitted comfortably into a 
dominant colonial ideology where conser- 
vative religion and science were seen to be 
in harmony. More intriguingly, it should 
be seen not through the medium of a post- 
Darwinian world-view, but in a specific 
temporal and local context. Anti- 
Darwinism was not an eccentric excres- 
cence on an otherwise glittering scientific 
career; it was part and parcel of Frederick 
McCoy, a bulwark against a type of god- 
less science that he had learned to despise 
through his early patrons and mentors. I he 
science he believed in had a moral edge 
it led to a wonder in the face of creation 

and provided the intellectual stimulus to 

the immense amount of work he undertook 
and completed in Australia. His museum 
philosophy was guided by this essentially 
providenlialisl science; a museum must be 
a teaching institution, the lessons to be 
learnt a combination of the factual and the 
moral, not a place to be filled with stuffed 
specimens arranged higgledy-piggledy. 
Mis adherence to I ouis Agassi/'s 'centres 
o\' creation' was his guide in this, even 
though his grand plans for the National 
Museum never fully materialised. 

As the historians of science John Brooke 
and Geoffrey Cantor have said, 'In writing 
biography the historian or biographer seeks 
to identify the various strands that mould 
the biographical subject ... through biogra- 
phy we might come to appreciate the exis- 
tential tensions encountered by scientists 
as they struggle to cope with the demands 
made by both science and religion' 
(Brooke and Cantor IWS; 247). This paper 
is manifestly not a biography of Krcderiek 
McCoy, but in laying out, however briefly, 
the factors that played a role in determin- 
ing his anti-evolutionism I have sought to 
follow that wise advice. 

Look again at the grinning ape in the 
glass case; it symbolically brings together 
the twin aspects oi' McCoy's scientific atti- 
tude. When McCoy invited Melbournians 
to view the creature he was inviting them 
to share his vision of an empirical sci- 
ence grounded in a religious, social and 
moral order. 


irgus, 20 June [865, 

Brooke, .1. and Cantor, (i. (i'> l >s). 'Reconstructing 

Nature'. ( I and I Clark: Edinburgh,) 
Butcher, U.W. (I ( >N8). Gorilla Warfare in Melbourne; 

lliillortl. flnxley and "Man's place in nature'. In 

'Australian Science In the making 1 , id, K. Home. 

(< ambridgc t Iniversity I'rcss: Cambridge.) 
Desmond, A. U 989). 'The Politics of Evolution'. 

(I iniu'rsity oi Chicago Press: Chicago.) 
Desmond, A, ami Moore, .1. ( 19°) ). 'Darwin', (Michael 

Joseph: l mill- hi. i 
McCoy, r. (1X70), "ihc ordei and Plan of Creation: 

the substance of two lectures delivered in connection 

with the Early Closing Association*. (Ferguson & 

Moore; Melbourne.) 

McCoy Papers ( i s o s > . (v) National Museum ^\ 

Usborn, W A. (1920}. -William Sulhei hind, a 

Biography'. (Lothian: Melbourne.) 
Second, .1. (1986). 'Controversy in Victorian Geology*. 

(Princeton l Iniversity Press: New Jersey.) 
Sccoid. J. (2()i)0). 'Victorian Sensation'. (University of 

Chicago Press; < 'hicaao.) 
Sheels I'ycnson, S. (l l »SS). 'Cathedrals of Science'. 

(McGiU-Quecn's University Press; Kingston and 
^outig, K.M (I'JX.M, 'Darwin's Metaphor'. 

(( Cambridge I Iniversity Press: Cambridge.) 

For assistance with the preparation of this issue, thanks to Karen Dobson (label print- 
ing), Dorothy Mahler (administrative assislanee) and Michael McBain (web page). 


The Victorian Naturalist 

Part One 

McCoy and Sarcophilus harrisii Boitard, 1842 - 
a Diabolical Relationship 

W.R. Gerdtz 1 


Frederick McCoy contributed to the knowledge of the fossil record of the Tasmanian Devil 
Sarcophilus harrisii Boitard, 1842 in Victoria by including, a number of figured specimens in the 
Prodromus of the Palaeontology of Victoria. However, an article McCoy wrote under the pseudonym 
'Mierozoon 1 highlighted his anti-Darwinian thoughts and embraced a successionist viewpoint. The 
article, entitled "Pre-historic Tasmanian Devils', is an interesting account of zoogeography from a 
successionist perspective, and is used here to contrast McCoy's anti-evolutionary viewpoint with 
modern Darwinian thought. A number of fossil sareophilines discovered since McCoy's death illus- 
trate the shortcomings of McCoy's favoured anti-Darwinian viewpoint when discussing the nature of 
evolution and extinction. (The Victorian Naturalist \\%{5), 2001, 231-2330 


As an icon of the Tasmanian marsupial 
fauna, the Tasmanian Devil Sarcophilus 
harrisii Boitard, 1842, is unparalleled. Its 
depiction in popular culture extends from 
associations with sporting teams (as a sym- 
bol of aggression and determination) to 
children's cartoon animation, and implies 
the singular vision of a voracious marsu- 
pio-carnivorc which cares for little else 
than eating and fighting. This popular mis- 
conception of the largest living dasyurid 
(carnivorous marsupial) is as prevalent 
today as it was in 1869, when Frederick 
McCoy published his natural history col- 
umn in The Australasian newspaper enti- 
tled *Pre-historic Tasmanian Devils' under 
the pseudonym 'Microzoon* ('MicrozoorT 
1869). McCoy did not identify himself as 
being the mysterious natural history 
columnist 'Microzoon". Posthumous inves- 
tigations into the numerous articles submit- 
ted under that pseudonym, however, leave 
little doubt as to his identity (Whitley 
1969). While McCoy was not impressed 
with the Tasmanian Devil (nor the ecclesi- 
astic connotations of its common name), 
he did seem to relish describing his con- 
tempt for S, harrisii. Descriptions such as 
'clumsy', 'cruel", 'savage 1 and even \.. a 
creature ... destitute of any redeeming 
quality' abound in McCoy's article, but it 
is McCoy's comments on the zoogeogra- 
phy of the species that illustrate an inter- 

School of Ecology and Environment. Deakin 
University, Ru*den (_';impuv Clayton, Victoria J16S, 

[.mail wr^crdt/irt'dcakin. 

esling theory. With the benefit of hindsight 
and a number of intriguing fossil finds 
since McCoy's death, a contemporary pic- 
ture of the sareophilines in time and space- 
is slowly starting to emerge. 

McCoy's Sarcophilus 

McCoy ( 1 SS2 ) described the fossilised 
remains of a number of S. harrisii speci- 
mens from 'many ossiferous caves of 
Victoria', as well as Pleistocene sedimenls 
near Campcrdown, Queenseliff, Gisborne 
and Baringhup (McCoy 1882). These dis- 
coveries clearly posed a dilemma for 
McCoy as they contradicted his belief in 
'The Order and Plan of Creation' (McCoy 
1869). Based on ideas from an anti- 
Darwinian perspective, McCoy believed 
not in the 'struggle for existence', but 
rather a 'successionist* view of creation 
God's creations being punctuated by time 
and space. This theory was based on the 
idea that a certain faunal assemblage was 
"created', existed in a finite time and 
space, then became entirely extinct, lo be 
replaced by another 'batch' of God's cre- 
ations. McCoy noted it a 'curious circum- 
stance' that fossilised remains of an extant 
mammal from Tasmania could appear in 
mainland Australia, and found this 'quite 
inexplicable' (McCoy 1882). McCoy's 
belief in the Creator's perfect and univer- 
sal plan of successive creation appeared to 
be contradicted by the fossil evidence 
McCoy himself described in the 

The 'Microzoon' article only serves to 
highlight the shortcomings of the progres- 

Vol. 118(5)2001 


McCov Issue 

sionist theory - surely the smaller, outlying 
islands of a zoogeographic region are more 
at risk of faunal extinction than the larger 
land mass of the same region, irrespective 
of who or what is causing the creation and 
extinction. Small island communities are 
more susceptible to extinction by virtue of 
the population size, so why would the 
exact opposite occur? While the concept of 
faunal refngia was not mentioned by 
McCoy, in attempting to explain this 
conundrum in the 'Microzoon' article, 
McCoy had inadvertently touched on what 
was to become a cornerstone of Darwinian 
evolutionary thought. Natural Selection. 
The extinction of 5. harrisii on mainland 
Australia is now believed to be the result 
of two factors, the failure of the animal to 
adapt to increased aridity, and its inability 
to compete for food with an introduced 
species, the Dingo Canis lupus dingo 
(Strahan 1998). 

Intermediate forms and fossil 

McCoy, like many other anti-evolutionary 
thinkers, quoted the lack of intermediate 
forms 1 between fossils and extant fauna as 
an argument against Darwinian evolution. 
McCoy had already noted a morphological 
similarity between S. harrisii and the Spot- 
tailed Quoll Dasyurus maculalus; however 
he did not expand his discussion to explain 
the implications of this similarity. In 1911, 
twelve years after the death of McCoy, a 
specimen found in a well near Smcaton 
was presented to the National Museum of 
Victoria. It appeared to represent an inter- 
mediate fossil form linking S. harrisii and 
D, maeulatus. The fossil, later to be named 
Glaucodon ballaratensis Stirton, 1957 was 
a small right jawbone of a dasyurid of Plio- 
Pleistocene age that was almost exactly 
halfway between .V. harrisii and />. maeula- 
tus in both morphology and dimensions. 
However, as the G. ballaratensis holotype 
was missing most of its teeth (and thus the 
most compelling evidence of its intermedi- 
ate status), the specimen remained a curios- 
ity in dasyurid evolution for 85 years, sub- 
ject to discussion of dasyurid phylogeny by 
many authors such as Gill (1953), Stirton 
(1957), Ride (1964), Marshall (1973), 
Archer (1976, 1982), Archer and 
Bartholomai (1978) and Crabb ( 1 982). 

A number of other sarcophilinc fossils 
have also surfaced since the time of 
McCoy. These include the small, gracile S. 
moornaensis (Crabb 1982) of the Pliocene, 
and the Pleistocene's gigantic cousin of 
today's devil, S. laniaris (Ride 1964). 
However, it wasn't until 1996 that another 
specimen of the genus Glaucodon was dis- 
covered. This new specimen was a dentally 
complete lower right jaw found in 
Batesford Quarry near Geelong. The fossil 
was brought to the attention of Dr Tom 
Rich, Curator of Museum Victoria's 
Vertebrate Palaeontology Department. Dr 
Rich's preliminary assessment was that the 
fossil represented a new specimen of G. 
ballaratensis (Rich pers. comm. 1997). 
This specimen will be shown in a future 
work to share characteristics of both 
Sareophilus and Dasyurus., thus supporting 
Darwinian theory rather than McCoy's. 

The fossil record has many instances of 
specimens that appear to have shared 
ancestral stock. The reason there is no sin- 
gle 'common ancestor* in any case is part- 
ly due to the highly selective conditions 
required for fossil isation (and thus the bias 
in the fossil record). This apparent stum- 
bling block in Darwinian evolutionary the- 
ory is often used to strengthen arguments 
such as McCoy's successionist perspec- 
tive, however upon closer examination it 
shows a fundamental misunderstanding of 
the very nature of the Darwinian theory of 
evolution. It is now thought the process of 
evolution is based on incremental changes 
(mutations) in genetic structure through 
generations, and how these changes in 
genetic makeup affect the populations in 
their environment. 

McCoy subscribed to k Successionism\ a 
form of Creationist theory seemingly at 
odds with his scientific investigations into 
S. harrisii. It is possible McCoy may have 
interpreted the S. harrisii case as an anom- 
aly which might be dealt with at a later 
stage within his own scientific views. In 
either case, this should in no way have 
detracted from the concise and extensive 
knowledge applied to describing and illus- 
trating S. harrisii and its taxonomy in the 
ProdromUS. McCoy's 'Microzoon" article 
on S. harrisii is therefore an interesting 
example of the evolution of evolutionary 
thinking, and illustrates that palaeontologi- 


The Victorian Naturalist 

Part One 

cal evidence may never provide the defini- 
tive answer to the question on the mecha- 
nisms of extinction, but that scientific the- 
ories are shaped and re-shaped by new evi- 
dence and new interpretations. 


The author is grateful to Dr Doug McCann for 
discussions on the life and works of Frederick 


Archer. M. (1976). The dasyurid dentition and its rela- 
tionship to thai of didelphids. thy lac inids, 
borhyaenids (Marsupicarnivora) and peremelids 
I Pcremelina: Marsupialia). Australian Journal of 
Zoology, Supplementary Series 39, 1-34. 

Archer, M. (1982). Review of Ihe Dasyurid 
(Marsupialia) fossil record, integration of daia bear- 
ing on phylogenetic interpretation, and supragencric 
classification. In 'Carnivorous Marsupials'. Volume 
2, pp. 397-443. Ed. M. Archer, (Royal Zoological 
Society of New South Wales: Sydney.) 

Archer, M. and Bariholoinai. V (N 7 N| Tertiary mam- 
mals of Australia: A synoptic view. Uchcringa 2, 1-20. 

Boitard. P. (1842). Le Jardin dCS PI antes a Pans. 
Description et moeurs des mam mi feres el de la 
menaueric el du Museum d'Histoire Naturelle. Pans. 

Crabb, P.L. (14X21 Pleistocene dasyurids 
(Marsupialia) from south-western New South Wales. 

//; 'Carnivorous Marsupials', Volume 2, pp. 51 1-516. 

Ed. M. Archer. (Royal Zoological Society o! New 

South Wales: Sydney.) 
Gill, li.D. (1953). Distribution of the Tasmanian Devil, 

the Tasmanian Wolf and the Dingo in soulheasl 

Australia in Quaternary lime. The Victorian 

Naturalist 70, K6-90. 
McCoy, F. (1869). The Order & Plan of Creation - The 

substance of two lectures. Records of the Early 

Closing Association 1-32. 
McCoy, F, (1882). Sarcophilus ursinus (Harris sp.)> 

The Tasmanian Devil Prodromus of the 

Palaeontology of Victoria, or, figures am! descrip- 
tions of the Victorian Organic Remains. Decade 7. 

pp. 11-13. 
Marshall., (1973). Fossil vertebrate faunas from 

[he lake Victoria region, S.W. New South Wales, 

Australia. Memoirs of the National Museum of 

Victoria^ 151-81. 
'Micro/oon' (IS69). Pre-Hisloric Tasmanian Dc\iK 

The Australasian. Melbourne. Issue 264. 
Ride, W.D.L. (1964). A review of Australian fossil 

marsupials. Journal of the Royal S<>cictv of Western 

Australia 47,97-131. 
Slirton. R.A. (1957). Tertiary Marsupials from 

Victoria, Australia. Memoirs of the National Museum 

of Victoria!]. 121-134, 
Strahan. R. (ed.) ( 1998). 'The Mammals of Australia' 

(New Holland Publishers Plv. Ltd.: Sydney.) 
Whitley, G.P. (1969). Who was "Micro/oon" ' 

Australian Zoologist 15. 121-123 

Editors' Notes 

The manuscripts published in the two McCoy special issues vary in content and cover parts of 
his professional, scientific and private life. Some authors have waited a long time for their 
"McCoy' papers to be published, and others prepared manuscripts at very short notice. All of the 
papers have been refereed and we are mosl appreciative of the lime taken by everyone in con- 
tributing to these issues. To accommodate both the scientific and historical writing styles, there 
are some diversions from our usual referencing style. Many of the manuscripts also contain 
quotes, some of them lengthy; short quotes of a few lines are enclosed in single quotation marks, 
long quotes are indented in a smaller font size without quotation marks. 

Readers will notice different spellings of McCoy throughout the issues this is intentional. 
Frederick McCoy spelt his name several ways during his life. Neil Archbold's paper on page 2.34 
in Part One illustrates the different spellings. Museum Victoria's name has also changed several 
times, so there arc variations throughout the issues, depending on the time under discussion. 
Similarly, the date that McCoy became the first director also varies, as he was acting in this 
capacity for some time before the position was officially gazetted. The exact date of McCoy's 
birth is not known and varies with the source material 

There is some cross-referencing to other papers in the two issues. This has been done as a gen- 
eral guide and is not intended to be comprehensive. Cross-referenced papers have nol been 
included in the reference lists at the end of manuscripts. Pari One commences with a time line o\' 
Frederick McCoy's life and a geological time scale. We fell that these would be most useful to 
readers in an easy-to-find place as they wilt probably be referred to frequently. 

The papers in Parts One and Two are not in strict chronological order. Part One (118 (5)) is 
mainly aboul McCoy's early years in Ireland and also contains general historical papers. Part 
Two (118 (6)) covers McCoy's scientific work in Australia and also some general historical 

Mcrilyn Grey 
Anne Morton 
Alistair Evans 

Vol. 118(5)2001 


McCoy Issue 

Revisiting the Real McCoy 

N.W. Archbold 1 

It is well known to most naturalists and 
palaeontologists that there are numerous 
variations in the way that Frederick 
McCoy wrote his surname in his publica- 
tions. In a note by Rushton ( 1979), McCoy 
is referred to as 'the versatile and prolific 
Irish naturalist and palaeontologist 1 and 
three forms of the surname are noted from 
McCoy's own publications (Fig. I). Four 
additional variants of spelling, provided by 
citations of McCoy's works by other work- 
ers, are also noted by Rushton (Fig. 2). 
Rushton concluded that at least some of 
the variant forms are the result of type- 
writer and printing technique limitations 
(particularly issues concerning inverted 
apostrophes and the superior lower case c). 

Rushton (1979) concludes his discussion 
by preferring the use of the form of 
McCoy with the inverted apostrophe (Fig. 
la) but considered that, as an alternate 
method, the 'rare form McCoy 1 could also 
be used. It is odd that Rushton shows little 
if any awareness of McCoy's work in 
Victoria and his long career of publishing 
in the colony. Indeed, McCoy could well 
be referred to as 'the versatile and prolific 
Victorian naturalist and palaeontologist'. 
Considerable variation occurs in the sur- 
name spelling of McCoy during the late 
1850s and 1860s. McCoy's name is given 
in two styles, those of Fig. la and 1c here- 
in, in the William Fairfax, Handbook to 
Australasia of 1859. The Catalogue of (he 
186 I Victorian Exhibition (English 
Edition) gives it as McCoy while the 
German edition gives two forms; McCoy 
and M'Coy). Both the Annals and 
Magazine of Natural His&ty (1 862, 1868) 
and the Quarterly Journal of the 
Geological Society of London (1862) use 
the inverted apostrophe as does the 
Melbourne Intercolonial Exhibition, 1866- 
67, Official Record (1867). During the 
same period the Transactions and 
Proceedings of the Royal Soeietv of 

1 School of Ecology ami Environment, Deakin 

University. Rusdcn Campus, Clayton, Victoria 316& 

Victoria uses both McCoy (1860) and the 
inverted apostrophe version (1865). 

During the 1870s, and subsequently. 
McCoy consistently used the lower case c as 
an inferior letter in his palaeontological 
reports for the Progress Reports and later 
Annual Reports of the Geological Survey of 
Victoria, The same form was used through- 
out his text for the progressively issued 
major works, the Prodromus of the 
Palaeontology of Victoria and the 
Prodromus of the Zoology of I ictoricL These 
latter works ensure that 'McCoy" is the real 
McCoy to naturalists in Victoria (and 
Australia) and hence rather than being Uhe 
rare form' of his name as slated by Rushton 
(1979), it is, instead, a common form. 

But even in the two major Prodromus 
works there is an interesting footnote to the 
story. The lithographic plates for these two 
major works were prepared by a number of 
artists. Each plate was acknowledged at its 
base as having been prepared under the 
direction of McCoy, the spelling of which 
varies! The early plates (prepared by 
Ludwig Becker in the late 1850s) were 
directed by M'Coy, with a normal apostro- 
phe, all subsequent plates were directed by 
McCoy but using the lower case c as a 
superior letter! 







Fig. 1. Three forms of McCoy's name as pub- 
lished, a. 1X44, b. 1855, c. 1875. 





Mac Coy 




Kig. 2. Four additional forms of McCoy's name 
as quoted from secondary sources by Rushton 


Rushton, A, (1979). The ival M'Coy. U'lhaia 12. 226. 


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Volume 118 (6) December 2001 

McCoy Special Issue Part Two 

Published by The Field Naturalists Club of Victoria since 1884 

The colour pages of this issue sponsored by 

Global Change Research Group, Deakin University 


Plate 1 

Plale 2 

Plate 3 



Volume 118(6)2001 

McCoy Special Issue Part Two 



Editors: Merilyn Grey and Anne Morton 
Production Editor: Alistair Evans 

McCoy's Prodromus of the Zoology of Victoria - an Unfinished Task, 
by A.L. Yen, S.Boyd, A J. Coventry, J. Dixon. M. Gomon, 
M. O'Loughlin, G. Poore and K. Walker 242 

The Bryozoa of McCoy's Prodromus, by Philip Bock 256 

McCoy's Contribution to Graptolithology, by Noel Schleiger 266 

McCoy's Mammals, by John Seebeck and Robert M, Warneke 277 

Comments on the Ostracod Genus Bairdia M'Coy, 1844, 
by Mark Thomas Warne 283 

A 'Bite' from the Past, by Leigh Ahem 285 

Frederick McCoy - the Challenge of Interpretation of 
Thylacoleonid Fossil Material, by Bernard Mace 287 

t M'Coy and the Australian Ichthyosaur Ichthyosaurus auslralis 
fTvTCoy, 1867), by A J. Hell , 294 

Animal Acclimatisation: McCoy and the Menagerie That Became 
Melbourne's Zoo, by Linden Gillbank 297 

The Fate of the Cranbournc Meteorites, by Sara Maroske 305 

Frederick McCoy and the Naturalist Tradition, by Doug McCann 309 

Frederick McCoy and the FNCV, by Sheila Houghton 314 

Frederick McCoy's Mount Macedon Property, by Doug McCann 319 

The History of the McCoy Society, by David H. Ashton 321 

( aptions to coloured plates 328 


Cover: Sir Frederick McCoy, 1891, to commemorate the award of KCMG. Reproduced 
courtesy of Museum Victoria. 

Our web page: 
email: fncvfa 

McCoy Issue 

McCoy's Prodromus of the Zoology of Victoria 
-an Unfinished Task 

A.L. Yen 1 \ S. Boyd, A.J. Coventry, J. Dixon, 
M. Gomon', M. O'Loughlin, G. Poore 1 and K. Walker 1 


Frederick McCoy published the Prodromus of the Zoology? of Victoria between 1878 and 1890. It 
included text and illustrations on 447 .species of invertebrates and vertebrates. The aim was to make 
people more aware of Victoria's natural history. Although it was not continued after 1890, the 
Prodromus contains important biological and distributional information about many species, some of 
which are now threatened with extinction. ( The Victorian Naturalist 1 18 (6), 2001, 242-255.) 


One of the lesser known contributions to 
our knowledge of the zoology of Victoria 
is Frederick McCoy's Prodromus of the 
Zoology of Victoria. Between 1878 and 
1890, McCoy published this Zoology 
Prodromus as 20 parts in two volumes 
(Pescott 1954). Each part comprised 10 
plates, so a total of 200 plates was pub- 
lished. There was often more than one 
species on each plate, so the total number 
of species recorded in the Prodromus was 
447. McCoy also prepared a Prodromus of 
the Palaeontology of Victoria, and a more 
detailed account of the history of the pro- 
duction of both these texts is outlined by 

What is a Prodromus? The Oxford 
Dictionary defines a 'prodromus' as a pre- 
liminary book or treatise. The Government 
of the day deemed it necessary to acquire 
knowledge on the geology, botany and 
zoology of the Colony of Victoria 'to form 
collections illustrative of each for the pub- 
lic use, and to make the necessary prepara- 
tions for such systematic publications on 
the subject as might be useful and interest- 
ing to the general public, and contribute to 
the advancement of science 1 (McCoy 
1 878. in Preface to Volume 1 ). 

McCoy stated that the publication 
required a large number of illustrations 
made of living or fresh examples of many 
species of reptiles, fish and the lower ani- 
mals because (1) they were not as well 
known as the flora: (2) they lose their nat- 
ural appearance shortly after death; and (3) 

1 Museum Victoria. GPO Box 666E, Melbourne, 

Victoria 3001. 

: 52-54 Brushy Park Road, Wonga Park, Victoria 3115. 

not all true characters had been recorded, 
as many were described from preserved 
specimens. The illustrations were repro- 
duced lithographically, and several differ- 
ent artists were involved (Darragh 2001). 
In many cases, the illustrations were the 
first time that the species was illustrated, 
sometimes for the first time in colour. 

McCoy saw the Prodromus as a prelimi- 
nary issue in the form of 'Decades' (10 
plates). There was no systematic order to 
the sequence of publication, nor did he 
wait until particular groups were thorough- 
ly known. It was aimed to encourage peo- 
ple to observe natural history objects and 
to send new material to the National 
Museum of Victoria for description. 
McCoy saw the Prodromus as a step 
towards the publication of the final sys- 
tematic volume for each class when they 
approached completion. The publication 
years for each part (Decade) were 1878 
(Decades 1 and 2); 1879 (3 and 4); 1880 
(5); 1881 (6); 1882 (7); 1883 (8); 1884 (9); 
1885 (10 and 11); 1886 (12 and 13); 1887 
(14 and 15); 1888 (16 and 17); 1889 (18 
and 19); and 1890(20). 

Many of the species that McCoy included 
in the Prodromus have been renamed and 
some species have been split into two or 
more species in subsequent taxonomic 
revisions. This paper will provide the cur- 
rently accepted scientific and common 
names of the taxa in the Prodromus, as 
well as some notes where relevant. 
Information on the changes has been pro- 
vided by Sue Boyd (molluscs and echino- 
derms); John Coventry (snakes, lizards, 
frogs, tortoises and turtles); Joan Dixon 
(mammals); Martin Gomon (fish); Mark 


The Victorian Naturalist 

Part Two 

O'Loughlin (echinoderms); Gary Poore 
(crustaceans); Ken Walker (insects); and 
Alan Yen (insects, earthworm). 

The fauna 

Not all species in the Prodromus were 
new. although a number of new species 
described by McCoy were included. Of the 
447 species outlined in the Prodromus, 16 
were species originally described by 
McCoy. However, only 14 of these species 
had their original descriptions in the 
Prociromus, The two species described by 
McCoy prior to the publication of the 
Prociromus were Leadbeater's Possum. 
originally described by McCoy in 1867, 
and the Painted Lady Butterfly (described 
in 1868). The following were McCoy 
species: the Giant Gippsland Earthworm, 
Gould's Squid, two species of stick 
insects, the Painted Lady Butterfly, four 
species offish (the Two-pronged Toad- 
fish, the Melbourne Pelamyde, Macieay's 
Wrasse and the Blotch-tailed Trachinops). 
five species of snakes (Little Whip Snake, 
Common Brown Snake. Small-scaled 
Brown-Snake. Shield-fronted Brown 
Snake and the Two-hooded Furina-Snakel. 
one species of lizard (Victorian Rhodona), 
one subspecies o{ lizard (Gippsland Water 
Dragon) and one mammal species 
(Leadbeatefs Possum). 

Tabic 1 lists the species outlined by 
McCov. They ha\e been re-arranged 
according to their appropriate groups 
rather than following the order used by 
McCoy. For each species, the Prodromus 
issue in which it is described, the scientific 
and common names given by McCoy, and 
the currently accepted scientific and com- 
mon names are given, along with some 
notes of interest. Some of the species do 
not have a specific common name. 


These animals belong to the Phylum 
Polyzoa and are also know n as Bryo/oa. A 
total of 298 taxa was included and each 
was described by a polyzoan expert, Dr 
Paul MacGillivray, from Bendigo. 


There were four species of molluscs, alt 

of which were cephalopods. These were 

pecies of cuttlefish, an octopus (Paper 

Nautilus) and Gould's Squid (now known 

as the Arrow Squid). The latter was 
described by McCoy. 


McCoy included four species of echino- 
derms, three species of sea stars and a 
species of sea urchin. 


Only one species of earthworm was 
included, and this was McCoy's original 
description of the Giant Gippsland 
Earthworm Megascotides uustro/is. 


A total of seven Crustacea taxa was 
included. He dealt with very few of the 
species of Crustacea now known to exist in 
Victoria. In the family dealt with in most 
detail. Parastacidae or freshwater crayfish. 
the number of species now recognised is 
far greater. With few exceptions his fami- 
ly, genus and species names have been 


McCoy dealt with 26 species of insects, 
including three species that he described, 
although one of these, the Australian 
Painted Lady Butterfly, had been described 
prior to the publication of the Prodromus. 
The insects that McCoy included in the 
Prodromus were generally large-bodied 
and often brightly coloured species that 
would generally have attracted people's 
attention. McCoy included the immature 
life history stages of moths and butterflies, 
which would have aided identification con- 


The 61 species of fishes treated by 
McCoy make it the second largest "group* 
to feature in the Prodromus. It is estimated 
that well over 600 species occur in 
Victorian waters. The coverage reveals a 
predominance of species that might have 
been expected to turn up in early fish mar- 
kets, or species, like the Basking Shark. 
Briar Shark and Tasseled Anglerfish, that 
were perhaps brought to McCoy's attention 
because of their peculiar nature. Since the 
publication of the Prodromus. there have 
been major changes in fish taxonomy. As a 
result, only one of the five new species. 
Trachinops caudimaculaius, retains that 

Vol. 118(6)2001 


Met 'oy Issue 

name, and a large proportion of the species 
are now junior synonyms. Less than a third 
of Che scientific names provided by McCoy 
are recognised today, with a number of the 
"correct' names differing in spelling from 
that currently in use. Kighl species have 
since been referred to other genera. 

Though most species presented occur in 
Port Phillip Bay, or arc oceanic species 
thai are occasionally reported from Has> 
Strait coasts, one, the Sand Whiting 
Sillago cilfatct, lives along the coasts of 
Queensland and New South Wales, and is 
unlikely to be found in Victorian waters. 
I lie inclusion of the (irey Nurse Shark is 
interesting, as is the commentary about its 
abundance in Port Phillip Bay where il was 
considered a nuisance to commercial Ush- 
ers. At present, the species is all but absent 
from Victorian waters, and was recently 
considered by the Victorian Department of 
Natural Resources and Invironment as 
warranting placement in a conservation 
category that would afford it protection. 

Frogs, Snakes, Lizards, Tortoises and 

McCoy included three species of frogs, 
14 species of snakes, 21 species of lizards, 
two species of tortoises and a species ol' 
turtle. Six of these species, including four 
species of snakes, involved original 
descriptions by McCoy. 


Only five species of mammals were 
included, of which four were marine 
species. The one terrestrial species, 
I eadbeater's Possum, is significant 
because il is one of Victoria's faunal 
emblems. It was thought to be extinct for 
almost 50 years, but was rediscovered by 
Museum staff in L96-1. Although few in 
n u in her, 1 h e mam in a I s fi g u red a n d 
described in the i'nhlromus were treated in 
much detail, though McCoy's understand- 
ing of the taxonomy of the seals was eon- 
fused. As an example, although he con- 
fused the taxonomy til" the Australian Sea 
Hear, his excellent observations made on 
animals living on the Seal Kocks off the 
Nobbies on the coast of Victoria remained 
a primary source of information on this 
species until Wood Jones ( \*-)25). 

Significance of (he Prod ramus of the 
Zoology of Victoria 

McCoy, besides providing a detailed 
description ol' each species, attempted to 
illustrate the species in true colours. To 
this end, he provided illustrations of 13 
species for the first time and nine species 
in true colours for the first time. 

There was no apparent rhyme or reason 
as to how the species were selected for the 
Prodromus. Over half the species included 
were bryo/oans, not a group of great pub- 
lic concern or interest at the time. 
However. McCoy used the expertise t>f Or 
P.M. MacCiillivray who was a specialist on 
bryo/oans, Of the better known groups, no 
birds and only one species of non-marine 
mammal (Leadbeater's Possum) were 
included. It is likely that McCoy did not 
include any birds because the fauna was 
considered well known and there were 
books on the birds available, such as 
Gould's handbook (1865). The mammals 
were covered by the publications of John 
Gould (Gould 1845-1863). Surprisingly, 
given McCoy's interest in venomous 
snakes, there were no spiders or scorpions 
included. The snakes of Australia had 
already been well covered by Krefft 
( 18691, but McCoy described four more 

McCoy also provided information on the 
natural history of some species, both scien- 
tific and anecdotal, lor example, the docu- 
mented effects of the bile of a Copper-head 
Snake on a station-master at Clsternwiek. 
who was considered to be at the point of 
death until given an injection of strong 
liquor of ammonia! Other information 
verges on the bizarre, such as McCoy's 
comments on a specimen of the White 
Pointer Shark in the Museum collection: 
'Our two specimens were caught, one in 
July, 1873, and one in April 1877, in 
llobson's Ray, near Brighton. The larger 
had been observed for several days swim- 
ming around the ladies" baths, looking in 
through the picket fence in such a dis- 
agreeable manner that the station master 
had a strong hook and iron chain made so 
as to keep the rope out of reach of his 
teeth, and this, being baited with a large 
piece of pork, made to look as much like a 


The Victorian Naturalist 

/'<//■/ Two 

piece of a ladv as possible, was swallowed 
greedily; and then, with the aid of a crowd 
of helpers, the monster was got on shore." 

However, there is considerable informa- 
tion on the distribution of many of the 
species during the early settlement o\' 
Melbourne that is of importance to conser- 
vation today. McCov recorded a large 
number oi' species found in areas close to 
Melbourne, which may now be extinct in 
Victoria (such as the Earless Dragon 
Tympcmncryptis Uneata pinguicolla, now a 
full species. Tympanocryptm pinguicolia, 
which was common around hssendon and 
Sunbury), or locally extinct, or very much 
reduced in numbers (such as the Striped 
legless Lizard Dchna ini/nir). It is interest- 
ing to note that 16 species of fish were col- 
lected from Hobson's Bay. 

Another interesting side issue is whcihei 
all the species that McCoy had in his 
Prodromus arc actually Victorian. One o\' 
the species that he described was the 
Inland Taipan or Fierce Snake. Although 
McCoy listed the specimens as originating 
from the junction of the Murray and 
Darling Rivers, it is likely that these speci- 
mens were collected in New South Wales 
during the Blandowski Expedition of 
1857-8; the location is BlandowskTs camp 
site. McCoy also stated that the Death 
Adder was very common in the warmer 
parts of northern Victoria near the Murray 
River: in fact, the only record of a Death 
Adder was a specimen from Lake Boga 
that had been illustrated by Kreffl. 

Despite its narrow scope of coverage in 
light of what is known about Victoria's 
fauna today, the Prodromm was a bold 
attempt to document the fauna. Its progres 
sion was no doubt hindered b\ the need to 
prepare colour lithographs of the species, 
but McCoy's initial aim to provide true 
colour illustrations in the days before 
colour photographs is laudable. The 
Prodromus was not fulK recognised dur- 
ing McCoy's lifetime. There were efforts 
made in 1902. after McCoy's death, to gel 
the Government to continue the series to 
cover more of the natural history of 
Victoria, but to no avail. It was found that 
McCoy had prepared more than the 200 
plates in the two decades published, but he 
had not prepared any text to accompany 
these plates. 1 he knowledge gathered by 

McCoy on the unpublished plates was lost 
upon McCoy's death (Pescott 1954). For 
example, McCoy prepared an illustration 
of 8 specimen of an undeseribed species o\' 
legless lizard. This figured specimen is still 
in the Museum collection, with McCov \s 
proposed name. *PygoptiS porcQtus\ 
McCoy never wrote a formal description 
and this species was described bv 1 ischcr 
in 1882 as Pygopui riigrieeps. 

The Prodromus illustrates McCov 's all- 
round ability as a natural scientist, lie was 
a palaeontologist, but described species 
from a diverse range of animal groups: 
snakes, lizards, squid, mammals, fish and 
insects. McCov did not revise any particu- 
lar groups, unlike his successor. Baldwin 
Spencer, who published several papers on 
Victorian earthworms- However. McCoy 
recognized that there was still a wealth o\' 
material waiting to be described, and the 
publication of the Prodromus was an 
important initial step in bringing this lo 
public attention. 


I he authors wish to thank Or loin Darragh for 
his advice and for providing an advance copy ol 
his article. Dr David Kent/ and Mr Ted I dwards 
(CSIRO) checked the current names of some ^i 
the Orthopters and Lepidoptera (insects) respec- 
tively . 


Darragh, I \ (2001), ["he Prodromus of" Palaeontology 
and 2oolog) in \ Museum Kn the People: a Mistorj 
of Museum V ictorid and its Predecessors 1854-2000*. 
I J. C. Rasmussen. (Scribe PublieaUons: Melbourne.) 

(iould. J (1845-1863) Hie Mammals -of Vustmba', 
i I he Author: I ondon.) 

Gould J i IW5) 'Handbook to the Birds of Australia' 

( The Author I oiulou.) 
Kershaw, J. A, (1897), c ieatlas The Victorian 

Naturalist 1."VI W. 
KilTIi. (.. ( INn'lt - I be Snakes ol \usltalia' ( I liunnis 

Richardson, < rovcrnmeni Primer: Sydney, ) 
McCoy, F. (1878-1890) Prodromus >>f the Zoology a) 

iiitoriii; Figures ami Descriptions <>/ the Living 

Specie* >>! all Classes of the Victorian indigenous 

Inimals (Government Prmtei Melbourne.) 
Pescott, K.i.m (1954), 'Collections of a Century*. 

(Niiiional Museum of Victoria: Melbourne,) 
Wood Jones. 1. (1925), 'The Mammals of South 

Australia'- Part ill ft ro\emnieni Printer Adelaide.) 

Editors' note: Sonic examples ol the beautiful 
coloured lithographs from McCoy's Prodromus 
of the Zoology >>i Victoria are reproduced in the 
colour plates at the beginning and end of this 


VOL 118(6)2001 


McCoy Issue 




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Vol. 118(6)2001 


McCoy Issue 

The Brvozoa of McCoy's Prodromus 

Philip Bock 1 


Of the 200 plates published in McCoy's Prodromus of the Zoology of Victoria, 61 were devoted to 
bryozoans, documenting 309 species from the Port Phillip region. This major contribution to the 
knowledge of marine life of the colony was clearly the result of close co-operation between Sir 
Frederick McCoy and Dr Paul MacGillivray. Although much of this fauna has been revised by later 
workers, and much more revision is still needed, the account m the Prodromus remains the most sig- 
nificant single contribution to the taxonomy of Australian bryozoans. (The Victorian Naturalist 118 (6), 

The Polyzoa of the Prodromus of the 
Zoology of Victoria 

Numerically, the majority of species fig- 
ured in the twenty issues of the Prodromus 
of the Zoology of Victoria (MacGillivray 
1879-1890),' belong to the Phylum 
Polyzoa, now generally known as the 
Bryozoa. or Kctoprocla. These descriptions 
were undertaken by Dr Paul H. 
MacGillivray, who lived in Bendigo until 
his death in 1895. MacGillivray com- 
menced his work on Australian bryozoans 
with a brief paper in the Transactions of 
the Philosophical Institute (MacGillivray 
1860a), which was read at a meeting on 3 
August, 1859. Clearly, MacGillivray and 
McCoy were near-contemporaries. Many 
species described in early papers were col- 
lected at Queenscli IT, and some were 
described from material collected by sever- 
al other people, including Baron Ferdinand 
von Mueller. 

Nine years later, a further paper describ- 
ing 48 new species was published 
(MacGillivray 1869). The descriptions and 
comments in this paper show greater expe- 
rience and care than the earlier papers, but 
the descriptions were not accompanied by 
illustrations. At this stage, MacGillivray 
announced his intention to provide figures 
for these species, together with others from 
Victoria "in Professor M'Coy's "Memoirs 
of the Museum" '. As the first Decade of 
the Prodromus was not published until 
1878, and the first bryozoan account did 
not appear until Decade 3. in 1879, it is 
clear that an extended period of planning 
and preparation went into the series. 

A total of 309 species or varieties of bry- 
ozoans was figured and described in the 18 

1 School of Ecology and Environment, iK-akni 
University, Rusden Campus, Clayton, Victoria 3168, 


decades. Twenty-six of these species were 
previously undescribed (Table I, species 
indicated as *n. sp.'). The majority of 
species defined from the local fauna had 
been introduced by MacGillivray earlier, 
in issues of the Transactions and 
Proceedings of the Royal Society of 
Victoria published shortly before the publi- 
cation of the relevant issue of the 

The sequence of descriptions and illustra- 
tion shows considerable change over time. 
The plates in Decade 3 are not aesthetically 
attractive, and each figure is tiny, but there is 
a large amount of detail. The ligures are usu- 
ally quite accurate and useful in identifica- 
tion. Plates 35 to 38 in Decade 4 are rather 
less satisfactory, although the same artist 
prepared the plates. These plates are oi' 
encrusting forms, and I believe that a factor 
contributing to the lack of detail is the diffi- 
culty of discerning skeletal structure when it 
is covered by cuticle. At least a few of the 
specimens in the collection of Museum 
Victoria have been calcined, a procedure 
which involved using a blowpipe to burn the 
organic material. These specimens have now 
completely disintegrated, and are useless for 
observation. However, the material used for 
the illustrations is generally intact, although 
some specimens in slides constructed from 
wood have suffered from *shell disease', or 
'Bind*S disease*, which can be attributed to 
reactions between volatiles from the wood 
and the skeletal material. 

In Decade 5, the individual figures are 
larger, and the rendering, while simpler, is 
much clearer. A new artist, J. Ripper, pre- 
pared the plates in Decades 5 to 13. 
Commencing in Decade 10. some plates 
indicate that Dr MacGillivray worked 
together with J. Ripper in the draughting. 

The Victorian Naturalist 

Part Two 

with lithography by Ripper. The plates in 
Decades 14 to 20 were draughted by 
MacGillivray, and lithographed by Ripper. 
The quality and accuracy of the figures are 
generally very fine, although some exam- 
ples are misleading in detail. 

The program for documenting the fauna 
of Victoria was planned beyond the issue 
of the first twenty Decades, as printed 
plates for further issues are in the collec- 
tion of Museum Victoria. These plates 
include figures of additional bryozoan 
species, largely of the Order Cyclostomata. 

Since about 1980, detailed study of bry- 
ozoan material using scanning electron 
microscopy (SEM) has provided informa- 
tion on skeletal details of bryozoans far 
greater than was previously achieved with 
drawings or photographs (Bock 19X2). it is 
now clear that many local species which 
had been identified using the names ol' 
European species are quite distinct, and in 
several cases are actually complexes of 
several species. In a small number of cases 
it has also been possible to determine that 
the species described from Port Phillip 

include some synonyms. Nevertheless, the 
work documented in the Prodromus 
remains a remarkably accurate monograph 
of the local fauna. 


Bock. P.E. (1482). Bryozoans (Phylum Bryo/oa). In 
'Marine Invertebrates ol' Southern Australia,' Part I, 
pp. 319-394. Eds S.A. Shepherd and l.M. I "nomas. 
(South Australian Government: Adelaide.) 

MacGillivray, P.H. (1860a). On some new Australian 
Polyzoa. Transactions of the Philosophical Society of 
Victoria 4,97-58. 

MaeGillivray. P.H. <IX60b). Notes on the 
C'heilostomatous Poly/oa of Victoria and other parts 
of Australia- Transactions of the Philosophical 
Institutes] Victoria A. 159-16$. 

MaeGillivray. PH. (IN69), Descriptions of some new 
genera and species of Australian Poly/oa; to which is 
added a list ol species found in Victoria. 
Transactions and Proceedings of the Itoval Society o) 
Victoria'), 1 26- US. 

MacGillivray, PH. (1879-1890). Poly/oa. Prodromus 
oj the Zoology <>/ Victoria. Decade HI, pp. 15-35. 
Decade IV. pp. 21-40, Decade V. pp. 27-52. Decade 
VI. pp. 27-40. Decade VII. pp. 23-}), Decade VIII. 
pp. 29-31, Decade IX, pp. 29-34, Decade X. pp. 13- 
31. Decade XI. pp. 27-52. Decade XII. pp. 63-73, 
Decade XIII, pp. 90-1 I [, Decade XIV. pp. 137-150. 
Decade XV. pp. I73-1SS, Decade XVI, pp. 209-220. 
Decade XVII. pp. 241-253. Decade XVIII. pp. 271- 
291. Decade XIX. pp, 307-323. Decade XX. pp. 345- 
357 and Indexes. Hd. F, McCoy. (Government 
Printer: Melbourne.) 

r v,- — y 



from the Prodromus oj tft$ Zoology of Victoria, Volume I. Decade V. Plate 46. Lithograph by J. 
Ripper and A. Bartholomew under the direction of Professor McCoy, printed by Troedel & Co. 
Spiralaria itorea [fig I); Olackork magellanlco (fig. 2); tHachom spinigera (fig. i) 

Vol. 118(6)2001 


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260 The Victorian Naturalist 

Part Two 


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The Victorian Naturalist 

Part Two 


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264 The Victorian Naturalist 

Part Two 

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Vol. 118(6)2001 


McCoy Issue 

McCoy's Contribution to Graptolithology 

Noel Schleiger 1 


This study is confined to Frederick 
McCoy's publications on the description 
and occurrence in Victoria of graploliles, 
as interred from his various reports in the 
Prodromus of Palaeontology of Victoria 
1874-1881. The aim is to relate McCoy's 
descriptions and concepts to the present- 
day situation, especially with regard to the 
advances in grapiolite taxonomy over the 
last 100 years. 

In 1854 McCoy was appointed Professor 
of Natural Science in the University of 
Melbourne. In 1856 he was appointed 
Palaeontologist to the Geological Survey 
of Victoria, and later became Director of 
the National Museum of Victoria. 
Therefore, he held these three positions 
concurrently. Geologists working on the 
Survey collected specimens which were 
subsequently housed in the National 
Museum. McCoy supplied the age deter- 
minations most necessary for compiling 
the Geological Quarter Sheets, and 
described those fossils for taxonomic 
determination. McCoy provided this ser- 
vice efficiently until shortly before his 
death in 1899 (Darragh et al. (976). 

McCoy had previously worked with 
Adam Sedgwick on the graploliles in 
Scotland. Wales and Ireland, and was 
aware of collections from Sweden, 
Bohemia and Canada. 

McCoy's work in the Prodromus 

Brough Smyth was appointed Secretary 
for Mines in Victoria in 1860. He institut- 
ed several important geological publica- 
tions, such as the Reports of Mining 
Surveyors and Registrars which recorded 
significant data on the Victorian 
Goldfields. He also supported Frederick 
McCoy's Prodromus of the Palaeontology 
of Victoria, which was issued in seven 
parts between 1 874 and 1 882. 

The idea was to produce Memoirs of the 
National Museum, and Prodronuts was the 

I Astlev Struct. Montmorency. Victoria 3094. 

start. Darragh et al. (1976) rate this work 
as one of the finest Australian palaeonto- 
logical publications. Of the eleven taxo- 
nomic fossil groups, graptolites ranked 
second in the number of species described 
by McCov in the various decades of the 
Prodromus (1874-1881). 

In Decade I in his discussion of the grap- 
tolites he regards these fossils as very 
important in the dating of the Lower 
Silurian (now Ordovician). especially the 
gold deposits of Victoria. 

Table 1 shows the graptolites in Decades 
I, II and V, making 19 species in all which 
he described in the Prodromus, 

Early discovery of graptolites in 

Darragh et al. (1976) report that the first 
Silurian graploliles came from K.eilor in 
May 1856, found by Selwyn and Aplin, 
whilst the first from the Ordovician were 
found by Thureau at Bendigo in 1857. J.H. 
Panton, Warden of the Bendigo Goldfieid. 
gave McCoy graptolile specimens from 
Bird Reef, Bendigo in 1858. From these 
collections McCoy realised that graptolites 
were world-wide in their distribution and 
not just in the northern hemisphere in the 
Ordovician period. He was most impressed 
when he found that the very same grapio- 
lite species at Bendigo also occurred in the 
old goldmines at Gogofau in Wales 
(McCoy 1874). 

revolution of graptolite taxonomy 
Uniseriai forms 

It is interesting to read McCoy's report of 
the first Lower Ordovician graptolites from 
Bendigo. It makes one appreciate how the 
taxonomy and terminology has changed 
and developed from these first descriptions. 

In the Prodromus (McCoy 1874), the 
generic name Graptolites was applied to all 
those species having 'one row of cells' 
(known today as 'thecae'; Fig. 1) on each 
branch or stem (today referred to as the 
'stipe'). If the polypidium - the whole body 
of the fossil (todav known as the 'rhabdo- 


The Victorian Naturalist 

Part Two 

Table 1. Graptolites described by McCoy in the various decades of the Prodromus of (he 
Palaeontology of Victoria. 

Decade Plate Figure Genus or Sub-genus 
No. No. No. 


Age Today 






9- 1 4 




Phyliograptus folium var. typus 

Diplograpsus mucronatus 

Dipfograpsas prist is 

Diplograpsus rectangularis 

Diplograpsus (Glimacograpsus) hicomis 
Graptolites (Didymograpsus) fruticosus ( Hall ) 
Graptolites (Didymograpsus) quadribrackiatus 

Graptolites (Didymograpsus) bryon&ides 

Graptolites (Didymograpsus) 
Graptolites (Didymograpsus) 

( Iraptolites (Didymograpsus) 
Graptolites (l)idvmograpsus) 

logani (Hall) var. 
austral is ( Mc( 'o\ ) 
extensus (Hall) 
caduceus (Salter) 



palmeus (Barrandc) 



ramosus ( Hall) 



furcatus (Hall) 


Graptolites (Didymograpsus) 






Graptolites (Did) mograpsus) 

thureaui (McCov ) 

Graptolites (Didymograpsus) headi (Hall) 








Lower to Middle 


I ower Ordovician 

(Lower Ordovician I 
Upper Ordovician 
Upper Ordovician 
Upper Ordovician 
Upper Ordovician 
Wenlock (Silurian) 

(Lower Ordov ician) 

(Lower Ordovician) 

some") - had two simple stems (stipes) unit- 
ed by a slender non-celluliferous base (today, 
the 'sicula") the subgenus Didymograpsus 
(twin graptolites) was applied. 

At this stage of the evolution of the taxon- 
omy, all multi-branched forms were desig- 
nated Graptolites (Didymograpsus) presum- 
ably because fragmentary stipes could not be 
distinguished from part of Didymograpsus, 
or the distal fragment of a many branched 
form. The species name could be applied to 
a multi-branched form when the complete 
specimen was available. In today's taxono- 
my that species name has often been 
retained, and this is the best clue to link the 
terminology of McCoy with that of today. 
Three examples of the multi-branched forms 
are shown in Fig. 2. 

A feature of the evolution oC the 
Didymograpsus subgenus throughout the 
Lower Ordovician period was to drop the 
number of stipe dichotomies (stipe orders) 
from six down to two. Thus, in Fig. 2, 
Loganograptus, with four dichotomies, 
reduces to three in Dichograptus and to 
two in Tctragraptus. 

Biserial Forms 

The name Diplograpsus was applied in 
the 19" century to those graptolites with 
'two rows of cells or denticles*. Before 
coming to Victoria. McCoy had recorded 
biserial forms in Britain and Ireland 
(McCoy 1846; Sedgwick and McCoy 
1855). based on Professor Hall's work in 
Canada, vi/: Diplograpsus foliaceus 

Virgulfl (not always prescnl) 


Widening stipe and ihecae 

Fiji. I. (iraptolite Didymograpsus extensus (Hall), today known as Expansograptus haltieus, a lower 
Ordovician uniserial form. 

Vol. 118(6)2001 


McCoy Issue 


Fig, 2. Three multi-branched graptolites 
described by McCoy from the Bendigo 
Goldllelds (modern taxonomy in brackets): a. 
(irnpiotiles (Didymograpsus) qitadrihraeh'uitus 
(Hall) {Tetagrapius quadribrachiatus): b. 
Graptolites (Didymograpsus) octohrachiatus 
(Hall) (Dichograptus, octobrachiatus); c. 
Graptolites (Didymograpsus) hgatil var. aus- 
tralis {Loganograptus logani). 

(Murchison), D, folium (Hisunger), D. 
mucronatus (Hall), D. pristis (Hisinger sp.) 

var. B (Hall). D. ramosus (Hall), D. ree- 
taiiguluris (McCoy), and D. ? sextans 

McCoy realised that the distinction 
between Didymograpsus and Diplograpsus 
forms was important. However, at this 
stage it was not realised that the sequence 
of graptolite forms through the Ordovician 
succession went from uniserial to biserial 
and then back to the uniserial condition in 
the Upper Ordovician succession. 

Thus in the bottom third of the Lower 
Silurian (Llandoverian), biserial forms 
became extinct and only uniserial forms, 
usually Monograptidae, existed until the 
extinction of the graptolites in the Emsian 
division of the Lower Devonian (Thomas 
1960; Cas and VandenBerg 1988: 

The problems with the subgeneric classifi- 
cation of graptolites into Didymograpsus 
were that Didymograpsus did not distinguish 
between the number of stipes in the rhabdo- 
some; also Didymograpsus did not differen- 
tiate forms which were uniserial in the 
Lower Ordovician and Upper Ordovician 
through Silurian to Lower Devonian 
( Emsian) sequences. 

Concepts inferred from McCoy's 
reports on graptolite taxa 
Taxonomy of the graptolites 

Features of McCoy's fossil reports were 
to designate the Class, Order and Family 
of the fossil under study, together with a 
brief resume of the taxonomy at that time. 

This was followed by a detailed descrip- 
tion with salient measurements, then by 
discussion and localities of occurrence. 

The well-known Bendigonian zone fossil 
of today. Pendeograplus fruticosus, was 
described by McCoy (1874) as Graptolites 
(Didymograpsus) fruticosus (Hall). 

This was the first Victorian graptolite 
McCoy was to see when he arrived in 
Victoria (McCoy 1874). McCoy immedi- 
ately recognised it as a new species. At 
that time he named it fn his manuscript 
Graptolites (Didymograpsus} pantoni after 
J.A. Panton, then warden of the Bendigo 
goldfield. McCoy corresponded with Prof. 
Hall of Canada, who subsequently had dis- 
covered the same species there. Hall had 
sent McCoy a proof of his illustration of 
Graptolites (Didymograpsus) fruticosus 
before publication, so McCoy adopted 
Hall's name. 
Of this taxon, McCoy remarked, 
the extraordinary symmetrical grace of the 
regular form in which this most beautiful 
species is developed, renders it very easy of 
recognition. Even fragments arc clearly 
marked by the great size of the broad trian- 
gular denticles. 
A feature of the gerontic forms of this 
graptolite is the broadening curving of the 
distal end of the stipes, with corresponding 
increase of thecal size (Fig. 3). 

Were graptolites hydrozoans? 

McCoy thought that the thin homy rhab- 
dosome with either uniserial or biserial 
thecae and polyp cells, each having an 
internal transverse diaphragm at the base, 
were features agreeing with the Hydrozoan 
Sertulariadae. However, the graptolites 
were not rooted like Sertularia and there is 
no trace of ovarian vesicles. Corymorpha, 
another hydrozoan, on the other hand, 
agrees with the graptolites in having a free 

In Ireland, McCoy's friend, Patterson of 
Belfast, noted that a broken stem of the 
hydroid zoophyte of Tubular uu when 
immersed in water, 'kept coiling itself up 
then uncoiling, twisting and knotting 
itself,' which conveyed the notion that the 
stem is not only flexible, but truly and 
entirely under the control of the zoophyte 
(McCoy 1846). 


The Victorian Naturalist 

Part Two 

Fig. 3. Uniscrial graptolites designated by McCoy mostly as the subgenus Didymograpsus (see 
Table 3). Scale Bars all represent 1 cm. 1-4, Phyllograptus typus showing variation in form. 5, 
Tetragraptus quadribrachiatus. 6, Tetragraptus serra, 7, Goniograptus thureaui var. clonograp- 
toides. 8, Dichograptus octohrachiatius. l K Pendeograptus fruticosus 4 Br. form. 10, Tetragraptus 
approximator included as a zone fossil for Be-I with P. fruticosus (4 Br.). 1 1, 12, 13, Peinieagraptus 
fruticosus 3 Br. Ibrm, juvenile {II}, young (12), old/mature specimens (13}. 14, Tetragraptus headl 
15, Goniograptus thureaui var. inequalis? 16, 17. ix, L9, 22, Isograptus caduceus varieties: 16 var. 
lunatus (Ca-1), 17 var. victoriae (Ca-2), IX var. maximus (Ca-3), 19 var. maximo-divergens (Ca-4), 
22 var. divergent (Ca-3 - Ya-1). 20, Loganograptus logani. 21, Expansograptus extensus. 23, 
Nemagraptus gracilis (( ji- 1 }. 

Vol. 118(6)2001 


McCoy Issue 

The modern concept ofgraptplites 

Debate has continued on the position of 
graptotttes in the animal kingdom since 
McCoy's time, Ruedemann (l°47) consid- 
ered thai graptolites were still allied close- 
ly to the Hydroidea, a view expressed first 
by Hall (1X65) which no doubt influenced 
McCoy's views of graptolites at the time 
he described the Victorian graptoliLc fauna. 

ko/lowski ( 1948) argued thai on structur- 
al considerations graptolites were neither 
Coelenterates nor Bryo/oans (Poly/oans), 
Their histology and method of budding 
indicates that they are most likely to be 
Ptcrobranchiala. ko/lowski ( 1948) has dis- 
covered a Colonial form related to the 
living C&phcrIodisctts t the earliest 

Palmer and Rickards ( l l >OI > regard grap- 
tolites as colonial animals, like corals and 
most bryo/oans, which they resemble. The 
individuals of the colony (/ooids) were 
connected with living tissue, but the grap- 
tolile colony is usually much more geo- 
metric in its arrangement. Further, the 
skeletons ol" corals and bryo/oans are 
largely calcareous, v\ hilsl those of grapto- 
lites are of lough, horny material called 
collagen. Collagen is a fibrous protein, 
generally preserved as black carbon, and is 
common today in the bones, skin and heart 
tissue of vertebrates. 

As graploliles are extinct, the 
(irapU)loidea ranging from Lower 
Ordovician to Lower Devonian, and the 
Dendroidea ranging from Middle Cambrian 
(55(1 Ma) lo tipper Carboniferous (300 
Ma), comparison with living creatures is 
very difficult. Today, the majority of grap- 
lolile workers regard them as hemiehor- 
dates. Living hemiehordates, such as 
Cephalodiscus and Rhabdopleura, have an 
external layer of soil, living tissue (known 
as exlra-theeal tissue) connecting all the 
/ooids. It is believed the Hemiehordates 
linked the Invertebrates with the 

Observations by McCoy on some grap- 
tolile species 

Lower Onloviciun Viuserial Graptolites 
PhylfogrqpttiS folium (Hisinger) var. typus 


McCoy was aware of the variation in si/e 
and form o\~ this species. From studies o\' 

the Bohemian and Swedish species 
{Didymograpsus (PhyUogrqptus) ovatus 

(Barrande)) he predicted that they may 
only be varieties of D. (P.) folium o\' 
Hisinger. The Australian type in length and 
width was three or four times the si/e of 
the European varieties. The most distinc- 
tive character was the extraordinary width 
and thickness of the midrib or axis, which 
was about a quarter inch thick in the 
Bendigo examples. The thicker 'midrib' 
may be the result of two adjacent leaf-like 
stipes at right angles being flattened in one 
plane, or from one of the stipes being bro- 
ken through. At least the ihccae per inch or 
cm seemed lo be constant in all species 
studied. McCoy remarked that this species 
varies from ovate to most commonly broad 
and semi- elliptical at the basal half, then 
narrowing with slraighter sides towards the 
upper or distal end which was obtusely 
rounded. Other forms were the nearly reg- 
ular ellipse, whilst still rarer forms had 
parallel sides and nearly equally rounded 

Hall ( I N65) applied the genus 
Pkyllograptus to Didym&grapstf& 
[Pky Itagrqptus) folium (Hisinger) from the 
Canadian Hudson River Formation, Hall 
referred an identical series of Phyllograplids 
which McCoy had described from Bendigo 
as V, typus. McCoy thus adopted the name 
P. (ypus for his large variety which was 
found at Lancclleld. Newham, on the east 
bank of the Loddon, Jackson's Creek. 
Bullengarook and elsewhere. 

Graptolites (Didymograpsvs) caducev& 


McCoy described a variety of sizes of this 
scandent didymograplid, such as a small 
form and the large, broad, widely diverging 
forms. He believed the large forms were a 
distinct variety from the narrow subparallel 
forms, but there was a general gradation or 
series in size on the sample of specimens 
available. The common occurrence was in 
Castlemaine and district. 

Thomas (l c >60) regards this species as 
synonymous with Jsograptas caduCeus 
(Salter) c.f. /. gibberulus and Dnlymo- 
grqptus gibberulus with a list oi* 18 vari- 
ants distinguished by later workers, espe- 
cially Harris, T.S Hall and Keble and 
Benson. So McCov was correct in his 


The Victorian Naturalist 

i\irt Two 

observation thai there were varieties in 
morphology and size. 

Today, the recognition of the Four 
Castlemainian sub-zones of the Victorian 
I ower ( )rdo\ leian depend on the presence 
of various subspecies of Isogr&ptUS virtori- 
ae, as shown In Cas and VandenBerg 
(I^KN), and bv VandenBerg and Coopei 

Graptotiies 1 1 Hdymograpsus*) quadri- 

hrachhitus (Mall) 

Ruedemann (1947) describes Tetra 
graptus quadribraChicitus (Hall) as consist- 
ing of tlrst order stipes of 2.6 mm with two 
thecae on each side, Four second order 
slipes spread out obliquely; straight, slen- 
der and rigid, increasing very gradually 
from 0.6 mm wide, to a maximum width - 
length of 2.4 ■ 42 mm. light tO nine the- 
cae pel cm inclined at about 2i5-40" and 
about tour times longer than w ide. ( herlap 
is one half to one third of their length, then 
outer wall slightly cursed. Apertural thecal 
margins are straight or slightly concave, 
and normal to the stipe axis. 

The modern ta\onom> is Tetragraptus 
(Salter 1863) guadribrachlafm (Hall). This 
graplolite has proved to be long-ranging, 
from the Bendigonian to the Darriwihan m 

i traptolites (Did) mograpxus) fagam (I lall) 
The rhahdosome is made up of two first 
order branches about 2 mm long dividing 
into lour short second order branches about 
1.4 mm long, Two repeated dichotomies in 
equal short intervals produced 16 fourth 
order stipes. However, it is possible to find 
one or other of third order dichotomies sup- 
pressed, or a tilth order dichotomy to give 
anything from 13 to 25 stipes. Stipes of the 
lust order can be up to IX cm long. I hecac 
are X-1 per cm and three limes tonga than 
wide with an overlap of one half inclined at 
3ft". A large central disc may be present in 
the larger specimens. 

Today VandenBerg and Coopei (l l / ( '2) 
refer to this species as LogaYiOgraptm 
lagant togani (Hall). I lie species described 
by McCoy was referred to as 
Laganagraptus (ogam amtralU (Mc( oy) 
VandenBerg and ( ooper regard McCoy's 
description as synonymous with 
Loganograptus logant iogani (Hall) and 
the variation from /.. /. aifstnihs dubious. 

(inipio/itvs (Didvmograpsus) octobrachuh 


I he rhahdosome is made up of stipes o( 
three orders, I he firs! order are about 2 
mm long, dichotomously branching to 
font second order slipes 1.5 mm long, 
the eight branches can be up to 10 cm 
long and up to 3,6 nun wide. Thecae are 
N-10 per cm and about lour times longer 
than wide. Overlap is 2/3 with a 20" incli- 
nation, curving to an outer margin oi' 50- 
>5" to the stipe avis Apertural margins 
are at 105-1 10" angle with the stipe avis. 
A secondary disc may be present in 
mature rhabdosomes. The present day 
taxonomy is Olchagraptus octobrachia* 
tus (Hall), 

Graptolite& (D'tdyntograpsus) thtircaui 
(McCo) ) 
This was a new genus to Hall when in 
1861 McCoy sent him a proof of his plate 
of graptolites from the Prodromus of fhe 
Palaeontology of Victoria (Ruedemann 
H>47). Gortiograptus was later found in 
Quebec rocks by Ami ( 1SS°) and from the 
\w^ Kill by Ruedemann (1902). Thomas 
(1960) indicates that the species now has 
IWO valiants, GoniograptliS (liiircoin 
(McCoy) var. cfonogwptoide+s Hams and 
I homas, and (io/noi-rdplas ihurcoiu 
( McCoy ) v ar. Inequality Harris and 
Thomas, which is synonymous with G 
fluiiL'aai \ in thurcuui, both of which are 
Bendigonian Sub-zone 1, but the latter 
extending into the Be- 2 Sub-zone. 
VandenBerg and Cooper <l°92) show the 
range oi << thureaui thureaw as spanning 
the Bendigonian /one from He- 1 to IV I. 
but restrict G, ihnrcaiiL var, clonoyjup- 
iotdc\ to Be- 1 only. 

Graptolites (Didymograpsus) headi (Hall) 
Ruedemann (1947) 

This is a four-stiped rhabdosomc, stipes 
in pairs joined by a short funiele at the 
base and united in a btoad, thickened, 
quadrangular, nearly squaie disc with a 
slight extension along the slipes. I hecac 
arc ten per cm; length four tunes the width. 
Distinguished from the similar 
I < iroyniptii\ (ftnu/nhrachiaftts by the si/e 

oi ihr stipes, 7. heads (Hall) is confined to 

the ( asllemaiman sub- /one 4 and lends to 
be rare in occurrence. 

Vol. 118(6)2001 


\fc(\>v Issue 

Upper Ordovician Biserial Graptolites 

Diplograpsus mucronatus 

This species is easily recognized by the 
little mucronale film that terminates each 
denticle and which extends upwards, 
downwards and horizontally (Fig. 4). Hall 
describes this species also from the 
Hudson River Formation not Far from the 
British Caradoc Shale. McCoy described it 
from Jackson's Creek, Parish oF Bulla. 
Thomas (I960) lists this species and syn- 
onym under Lasiograptus (Ihillograptus) 
mucronatus Hall as an Fastonian graptolite 
in Victoria (Caradoc in Britain). 
VandenBerg and Cooper (1992) list two 
taxa, Hallogra/Uus hirtus var. mucronatus 
(Hall) and Hallograptus bimucronatus 
which ranges from Fastonian sub-zones 2 
to 3. They regard that it is doubtful that D. 
mucronatus occurs in Australia. 

Diplograpsus pristis ( Hisinger). 

Occurring with /_). mucronatus, McCo\ 
described D. pristis (Hisinger) with broad 
triangular thecae and slightly mucronate 
tips. The thecae were less oblique to the 
axis but more Strongly and broadly toothed 
than in D. mucronatus. 

Thomas (I960) more recently listed this 
species as Diplograpsus (Orthogruprus) 
pristis Hisinger. This has turned out to be 
an Fastonian or Caradoc form in the Upper 
Ordovician succession. VandenBerg and 
Cooper (1992) do not list it anywhere in 
their evaluation of the Fastonian graptolite 
Diplograpsus rectangularis McCoy 

Similar to D. pristis is Clinhicograptus 
rectangularis, but it has short square the- 
cae, set normal to the axis of the rhabdo- 
some. The denticles of the thecae approach 
those a\" C. hicomis, but the base is a point 
and not bi corn ate as in that species. 
VandenBerg and Cooper (1992) have reas- 
signed this form to Pseudoclimacograptus 
ridellensis (Harris) from Thomas's (I960) 
determination of Clitnacograpfus ridellen- 
sis (Harris). McCoy reported that this form 
was in association with D, mucronatus and 
[)- pnsti\, in what is presently known as 
the Fastonian /one. 

Diplograpsus (Climacograptus) hicomis 

The fourth Diplograpsus described by 
McCoy in Plate I of the Prodromns was 

the distinctive D. (Climacograpfus) btcor- 
nis (Hall), with the thecae 'squarely 
notched out of the side margins" with a 
characteristic bicornate base. C as and 
VandenBerg (1988) show this as 
Climacogmptus hicomis hicomis and as 
being basal Gisbornian in the Upper 
Ordovician. They also show another sub- 
species, C. hicomis trideniatus in the 
Upper Gisbomian. So with the advance of 
the science since McCoy's description, this 
graptolite has proved to be very useful in 
the stratigraphical mapping of the lowest 
division ((iisbornian) of the Upper 
Ordovician in Victoria. Later workers have 
distinguished the following variants of this 
species: C. hicomis incquispinosus 
Thomas; C. hicomis longlsptnus T.S. Hall; 
C. hicomis peltifer Lapworth (syn. C. 
hicomis hicomis): and C. hicomis triden- 
iatus Lapworth. Thus C, hicomis ranges 
throughout the Gisbornian zone with the 
variants indicating particular sub-zones. 

Diplograpsus palmeus (Barr). 

By comparing the specimens from the 
parish o\' Bulla with those from Bohemia 
in the National Museum, McCoy believed 
this pear-shaped rhabdosome with cordi- 
form outline which had a smooth dilatation 
at the distal end was an ovarian vesicle. 
What McCoy described later proved to be 
typical of the genus Pctalograptus and this 
species is listed by Thomas (1960) as 
Pctalograptus palmeus I lall. 

Clailograpsus ramosus (Hall). 

McCoy (1875) felt that the name 
Cladograpsus rather than Dicranograptus 
should a p p 1 \ to his specimens from the 
Parish of Bulla. However, in later docu- 
mentation such as Thomas (I960) this 
graptolite is catalogued as Dicranograptus 
ramosus Hall with the variants longicauiis 
Files and Wood, semi-spinifer T.S. Hall 
and var. spinifcr Fapworth (syn. semi- 
spinifer) figured in Plates VII and IX oF 
the Prodromns. Cas and VandenBerg 
(1988) figure Dicranograptus ramosus 
scmi-spinifer. Thus Dicranograptus as the 
genus look precedence over Cladograpsus, 
VandenBerg and Cooper (1992) regard 
Dicranograptus ramosus mmosus Hall as 
equivalent to Dicranograptus ramosus 
spinifcr Files and Wood. Us range in the 
Gisbornian zone is Gi-I to Gi-2. 


The Victorian Naturalist 

Part Two 

Fig. 4. Biserial graptolites designated by McCoy mostly as the subgenus Diplograpsus (see Table 3). 
Scale Bars represent 1 cm, except where indicated otherwise. I, 2, 3, 4, Lasiograptus (Hallograptus) 
mucronatus; young (1), juvenile (2), mature specimen (3), enlargement of distal part of rhabdosome 
to show mueronate tips of thecae (4). 5, 6, Diplograpsus (Orthograptus) pristis; mature specimen 
(5), enlargement to show distal thecal characteristics (6). 7, 8, Climacograptus rectangularis, now 
Pseudoclimacograptus riddellensis Harris; mature specimen (7), distal enlargement to show rectan- 
gular thecae (8). 9, 10, Climacograptus hicornis bicomis\ enlargement to show thecae (9), mature 
specimen (10). Note bicornale property of proximal end. II, 12, Petalograptus palmeus; mature 
specimen (II), distal enlargement to show free thecae (12). 13, 14 Dicranograpius ramosus var. 
\pmifer; enlargement to show change from biserial to uniserial thecae (15). 16, 17, Dicranograptus 
/meatus; enlargement to show uniserial stipe and thecae (17). IX StomatograptUS australis, enlarged 
to show thecal details. 

Vol. 118(6)2001 


McCoy Issue 





































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The Victorian Naturalist 

Part Two 

Cladograpsus furcatus Hall 

This species, described by McCoy (1875) 
as rare in the parish of Bulla, is document- 
ed by Thomas (I960) as Dicranograpfus 
furcati/s Hall. Later workers have shown 
this form to range from Gisbornian to mid- 
Eastonian. VandenBerg and Cooper (1992) 
state that numerous Australian records have 
listed this species, but there are no descrip- 
tions, which makes its presence uncertain. 

Dicranograpius fit re at us minimus 
Lapworth is equal to Dicranogruptus kirkt, 
so the presence of D. furcatus in 
Australasia is doubtful. 

Graptolites (Didymograpsusi gracilis Hall 
McCoy remarked on the smallness and 
inconspicuous nature of the tiieeae. which 
looked like root hairs instead of stipes, and 
that only the common canal running along 
the back o\' the thecae could be seen. 
However, there was a slight roughness indi- 
cating the presence of thecae as in New 
York specimens. He likened the specimens 
to Rastrites, except that the thecae were not 
tubular. McCoy was doubtful about this 
specimen being assigned to Didymo- 
grupsus. remarking that the unusual growth 
form could w arrant another subgenus for its 

McCoy's suspicion was well founded as 
Thomas (I960J gives Xemagraptus gra- 
cilis as a separate genus and species. Cas 
and VandenBerg I L988) demonstrate that 
this graptolite is the zone fossil for the 
base of the Gisbornian (Gi-1) and with 
Cltmacograplus hicorui.s confirms, the 
stratigraphical mapping of this zone. 

This species marks the base of the Upper 
( )rdovician succession in Victoria, and is 

also the zone fossil for the base of the 
Gisbornian Zone Gi-1. 

Silurian Biserial Graptolites 

Retiolites austraiis (McCoy) 

McCoy reports that this specimen was 
found in a mudstone of Wenlock age in the 
United Kingdom. The Victorian occurrence 
is to the north-west of Keilor. Retiolites 
occurs at the base of the Upper Silurian in 
Bohemia. Retiolites geinitzianus (Barrande) 
was reported by VandenBerg ( L9S8) to be 
associated with this species. It is listed by 
him in the Springfield Formation and indi- 
cates a Late Llandovery age. R. austraiis is 
very much smaller with nearly double the 
number of thecae per cm. Today R. aus- 
traiis is regarded as Late Llandovery in age. 

Thomas (I960) indicates that Retiolites 
austraiis (McCoy) is a synonym of 
Stomato-grapttis austraiis (McCo> ). 

Stratigraphic value in Victoria 

Table 2 shows how the taxonomy 01 the 
19 graptolite species, which Mc('o\ 
described in the Prodroiuons, has evolved 
to the present day. !t also shows the value 
of these species in Victorian stratigraphy. 

Four of these species are rare and seem to 
have been lost in the evolving literature, 
vi/ Dicranogritptus furiatus, Tciragraptus 
headi, Ciimacograptus rectangularis f(\ 
riddel I ens t\ Harris) and Petaiograptu.s 
paimcus. Of the remainder, long-ranging 
species are four in number - Tetragraptus 
quadrihrachiatus, T. hrvonoides, Dicho- 
graptus octohrachtatus and Expanse- 
graptus extensus. This leaves eleven 
species which are restricted to sub/ones or 
are actual zone fossils (Table 3). 

Table 3. Stratigraphic \ aluu of graptolites in McCoy's Prodromus. 



Be 1 

Be 2 

Be 3 

Be 4 

Be 4 

(a 1 


t'a 3 


(ii 1 

EastonJan /one 

Farly Silurian (Keiloriun) 

Pendeograplus fhnicosw (4 Br.) and Tetragfaptus approximates 

Pendeograptus fruticosus i4 Br. alone) 

Pent icoyraptits fruticosus (3 and 4 Br,) 

Pendeograptus fruticosus (3 Br. alone ) 

Phyllograpius typus 

tsograptus i it ioriae var. iunatus 

fsograptus victorias \-d\. victorias 

fsograptus victorias var. minimus 

fsograptus victorias var. TtoQxitna~divergem 

Ciimacograptus bicomis with Nemagraptus gracilis 

Diphgrapsus fOrthograptwl printis 

and Lasiograptus (Hauograptus) mucrattatus 
Stomatagraptus austraiis and Pstalog^aptus palmeus 

Vol. 118(6)2001 


McCoy Issue 

Thus McCoy brought to the attention of 
graptolithologists eleven of the 19 species 
which needed further investigation for pos- 
sible significance in Ordovician and Early 
Silurian stratigraphical mapping, not only 
in Victoria but world-wide. 


The Australian Ordovician has now been 
divided into Upper and Lower divisions. 
The boundary between the two is at the 
base of the Nemagraptus gracilis zone of 
Cas and VandenBerg { 1988). 

Previously Harris and Thomas (1938) 
had proposed a three-part division with the 
Middle Ordovician (formerly the 
Darriwilian) between the Yapeenian Zone 
and the Gisbornian Zone. However, Cas 
and VandenBerg argue that this Middle 
Ordovician differs in concept from any 
other region. Furthermore, it represents 
only a relatively short time interval 
(VandenBerg and Cooper 1992). The pre- 
sent subdivision of the Ordovician in 
Victoria is consistent with the 1986 resolu- 
tion, where the Cambrian-Ordovician 
boundary is below the Dictyonema jlabel 1 1- 
forme band at Lance field and the 
Ordovician-Silurian boundary is with the 
first appearance of Parakidograpius 
aeuminatus at Darraweil Guim. 

Such mapping detail has been the out- 
come of later workers capitalizing on 
McCoy's first descriptions of the 19 grap- 
tolite species discussed in this paper. As a 
result of this work. Victorian Ordovician 
graptolite sequences have been shown to 
be as complete as any in the world. 


Thanks to Dorothy Mahler for help in the organ- 
isation and typing of the manuscript; to Dr Doug 
McCann for supplying the relevant documents 
for the study and to the referee for helpful sug- 
gestions in improving the manuscript. 


Ami. Il.M. ( 1889). On a species of Goniograptus from 

the Levis formation, Levis, Quebec. Canadan 

Records of Science 3, 422-428. 
Cas. R.A.F. and VandenBerg, A.H.M. < 1988). Chapter 

3: Ordovician. In 'Geology of Victoria', pp. 63- 102. 

Eds J.G. Douglas and .LA. Ferguson. (Geological 

Society of Australia, Inc: Victoria.) 
Darragh. T.A., Knight, J.L. and Tattam, C.M.M. 

(1976). History of Geology in Victoria. In 'Geology 

oi" Victoria", pp. 1-9. Eds J.G. Douglas and J. A. 

Ferguson. Geological Society of Australia Special 

Publication No. 5. (Geological Society of Australia, 

Inc: Victoria.) 
Hall, J. (1865). 'Graplolites of the Quebec Group 

Figures and Descriptions of Canadian organic 

remains". (Canada Geological Survey.) 
Kozlowski, R. (1948). Les graptolithes et quelques 

nouveaux groupes d'animaux du Tremadoc de la 

Pologne. Palaeonto/ogica Po/ottka 3, 1-235. 
McCoy, F. (1846). "A Synopsis of Silurian Fossils of 

Ireland". (Dublin Universilv Press; Dublin.) 
McCoy, F. (1874-1881). Prodromus of the 

Palaeontology of Victoria. Decades I-VII. 
Palmer, D. and Rickards, B. (Fds) (1991). Graplolites - 

Writing in the Rocks. (The Boydell Press.) 
Ruedemann. R. (1902). Growth and development oi' 

Goniograptus thureaui McCoy. New York State 

Museum Bulletin 52, 576-605. 
Ruedemann, R. ( 1947). 'Graplolites of North America: 

Memoir 19'. (Geological Sociely of America.) 
Sedgwick. A. and McCoy, F. 855). 'The British 

Palaeozoic Rocks and Fossils", Vol. 1. 
Thomas, D.TB, (I960). The zonal distribution o^ 

Australian graplolites. Journal and Proceedings of 

the Roval Society of New South Wales 94, 1-58. 
VandenBerg, A.H.M. (1988). Chapter 4: Silurian. In 

"Geology of Victoria", pp. 103-146. Eds J.G. Douglas 

and J. A. Ferguson. (Geological Society of Australia, 

Inc: Victoria.) 
VandenBerg, A.H.M. and Cooper, R.A. (1992). The 

Ordovician graptolite sequence of Australasia. 

AtchertngQ 16, 33-85. 

The Late Professor Sir F. IVTCoy, f.r.s., &c - An appreciative memoir of the late 
professor appears in the Geological Magazine for June, 1 899. After giving the genera! 
details of his life, an outline of which has already been published in these pages, a list 
is given of his smaller contributions to natural science. These number sixty-nine. 
extending from 1838 to 1876, with a final communication in 1881. They cover a vast 
range of subjects, and the greater number were published in the Annals of Natural 
History Magazine J 

From The Victorian Naturalist 

Vol. XVI, No. 5 (p. 92) 

September 7, 1899 


The Victorian Naturalist 

Part Two 

McCoy's Mammals 

John Seebeck 1 and Robert M. Warneke 


Although Frederick McCoy was princi- 
pally a geologist and palaeontologist 
(Pescott 1954; Darrragh 1992), he was a 
true generalise interested in and knowl- 
edgeable about a wide range of both inver- 
tebrate and vertebrate fauna, modern and 
fossil. As Professor of Natural Science at 
The University of Melbourne and Director 
of the embryonic National Museum of 
Victoria (now Museum Victoria) he recog- 
nised the necessity for such institutions to 
be able to demonstrate the diversity of life- 
forms to the community and was therefore 
at great pains to develop both teaching and 
exhibition collections. For whatever rea- 
sons - lack of time, lack of collecting 
opportunities or perhaps because the field 
had been so well covered by his contempo- 
rary and friend John Gould (whose singu- 
lar publication The Mammals of Australia 
(Gould 1845-1863) was completed during 
McCoy's lime as Professor) McCoy did 
not specifically pursue the study of the 
contemporary mammals of Victoria. In an 
essay on the natural history of Victoria, 
written to accompany the catalogue of the 
1861 Victorian Exhibition, McCoy 
observed that 'the Recent mammalia ... 
are so fully known from the admirable 
works [of Gould) that I shall not allude at 
all to them ../ (McCoy 1861; 170). 
However, when the opportunity arose for 
him to investigate something new. he did 
so with appropriate professional skill, and^ 
he investigated and described a number of 
mammal species, both contemporary and 
fossil. In this contribution we will examine 
these in their several categories. 

Mora and Fauna Statewide Programs. Department o\ 

■ i !■'■■ ii .■■ and I nt tranmctU, 250 Victoria 

Parade, btasi Melbourne, Victoria : "" 
1511 Ml Hicks Road, Yotla, raswiaaia /' 

Descriptions of new, contemporary 

McCoy described and named two modem 
terrestrial mammal species. Halmaturus 
wilcoxi in 1866 (McCoy 1866). and 
Gymnohci'ulcus leadbeateri in 1 867 
(McCoy lS67a). Halmaturus wilcoxi was 
described from two specimens collected by 
J.F. Wilcox at Richmond River, New South 
Wales. Iredaie and Troughton (1934) 
placed the species in Thylogale stigmatica, 
subspecies wilcoxi Red-legged Pademelon. 
Dixon (1970) confirmed this nomenclature 
and noted that the type specimens, a female 
and a male, are held by Museum Victoria. 
According to Strahan (1995) the subspecies 
still stands. 

Gytunohelidetts leadbeateri Leadbeater\s 
Possum was described from two specimens 
collected from the Bass River, and named 
after the skilled taxidermist at the National 
Museum. John Leadbeater. The original 
description, in the Annuls and Magazine of 
Natural History, was illustrated with an 
uncoloured lithograph of a mounted speci- 
men, fore- and hind-feet and teeth. The 
drawing was relatively crude and simplis- 
tic, but clearly recognisable (fig. 1). The 
description, accompanied by a redrawn, 
coloured plate showing the animal, fore- 
and hind-feet and the skull and teeth, was 
re-published as Plate 91, in Decade X of 
the I'rodromus of the /oology of Victoria 
(McCoy 1878-1885). The genus and 
species still stand and Leadbeateri 
Possum is now one of Victoria's two State 
faunal emblems (the other being the 
Helmeted Honcyeater). 

A third species of modem mammal was 
described in 1867. Thysaitts grayi, a 'new 
species of the genus Thvsaius\ or 
'T'inner\ from a specimen that washed up 
on the coast at Jan Juc in August 1866 
(McCoy 1867b). Although this 'species' 
was subsequently synonymised within 
Baiaenoptera physaius Tin Whale by 
Iredaie and Troughton (1934). their deter- 

Vol. 118(6)2001 


McCoy Issue 



I; . II 

I Hi 

>. 1 \>l\»M 

h NaUtiai ri:x 




/■«**.>, /,/A. 

Fig. 1. First illustration of Leadbeater's Possum Gymnobelideus leadbeateri McCoy. Lithograph by 
J. Basire. Published in Annals and Magazine of Natural History, Series 3, 1 867, 20, Plate 5, 287-88. 


The Victorian Naturalist 

Pari Two 

ruination was in error, and Bra/enor ( 1950) 
and later Wakefield (1967) recognised that 
the specimen was in fact Balaenoptera 
miiscitlits, the Blue Whale. The full skele- 
ton was articulated and displayed at The 
University of Melbourne until 1899, when 
it was apparently dismantled and disposed 
o\' rather than being reconstructed at the 
new Museum. A photograph o\' the skele- 
ton, incorrect!} captioned Black Right- 
Whale (Southern Right Whale. Eubalaena 
austral is) is opposite p. 66 in Pescott 
(1954). All that remains are the right tym- 
panic bulla and four baleen plates (Dixon 
andFrigo 1994). 

Comments on. and descriptions of, eon- 
temporary mammals 

McCo) was concerned with ensuring that 
the National Museum established its rale 
as one of the essential cultural institutions 
of the increasingly sophisticated socictv 
that Melbourne was becoming. One way to 
demonstrate its value was by publishing 
scholarly and readily accessible accounts 
of the natural histOT} of the colony, as had 
been already done lor the geology and 
palaeontology. The publication of the 
Prodromus oj the Zoology of Victoria 
(McCoj 1878-1885) was to be the precur- 
sor to a more detailed and comprehensive 
documentation Of the natural history of 
Victoria. The Prodtomus included descrip- 
tions and figures of three contemporary 
mammal species apart from Gymnobe- 
tideus - all are marine mammals, and one 
of them was featured twice. The species 
were the Sea Leopard (Leopard Seal). 
Sretmrhvnchus (= Hydrurga) leptonyx 
Plate 21, Decade III; Yellow-sided ( 
tOmmon) Dolphin. Delphirtus novae 
zealandiae (- delphis) Plate 22, Decade 
III; and Australian Sea-bear or Fur-seal 
(Australian Fur-seal). Evotaria cinerea ( 
Arctocephalus pusiilus) Plate 31, Decade 
IV and Plate 71. Decade VIII. 

Leopard Seals are not infrequent visitors 
to the Victorian coastline. The specimen 
illustrated was drawn from life by Ludwig 
Becker, the artist who died on the Burke 
and Wills expedition, and it became one <A' 
several specimens in the Museum collec- 
tion. Interestingly. Gould himself figured 
this species, one of only two marine mam- 
mals that he included in The Mammals of 

Australia (the other being the Australian 
Sea I ion. Neophoca cinerea). Despite their 
vernacular name. Common Dolphins are 
not now at all common in Port Phillip Bay. 
The most abundant dolphin in the bay is 
the Bottlenose Dolphin Tttrsiops trtmcatns 
- McCoy (1878-1885: 10) noted that 
sailors called the dolphin the •Bottle-nose". 
The Australian Fur-seal rookery at Seal 
Rocks was visited by McCoy, where he 
collected an adult male and female, and a 
young one. The account accompanying 
Plate 71 pro\ ides a very detailed picture oC 
the colon} that today remains a major 
Stronghold lor the species. 

In his ISM essa>. McCoy oITered com- 
ment about the mainland existence of the 
Spot-tailed QuOll DmyUritit macnlaUi\, 
which had hitherto been understood to be 
restricted to Tasmania. Several specimens 
had reached the Museum from the forests 
close to Melbourne. He also announced his 
recognition that the Dingo was indigenous, 
an issue that had been in debate at the lime 
(McCoy 1861). In addition, he discussed 
the mammal fossil record in Victoria but 
more of that later. 

Five years later. Victoria hosted the 
Intercolonial Exhibition, and McCoy wrote 
another essay, titled On the Recent 
Zoology and Palaeontology of Victoria, By 
way o\' introduction, he explained that he 
would only refer 'to those species of ani- 
mals affording economically useful materi- 
als, or o\ some special present interest in 
relation to unsettled scientific questions 1 
(McCoy 1867b; 309); thus his comments 
did not set out to include observations on 
all the mammals known for the Stale. 
Indeed, he began b> slating that 'very few 
of the Victorian quadrupeds are economi- 
cally useful', and most of the notes were 
concerned with the value of the skin (as 
leather or fur) or the animal as food. It was 
an important part of colonial life Lo make 
use of the available natural resources, and 
McCoy may well have seen it as part of his 
educational role lo give such advice as he 
could to the man in the street and. hope- 
fully, to the man in the bush as well. Marine 
mammals such as stranded large whales 
could and did provide oil and whalebone, 
both of which were extracted and sold. 

Despite this somewhat narrow cousidcia 
turn »»f the State's mammal fauna. McCov 

Vol. 118(6)2001 


McCoy Issue 

Table 1. Mammals listed in McCoy's essay for the Intercolonial Exhibition, 1866-67. 

Species, as reported 
in McCoy 

Dasyurus viverruius 
Pcraittclcs oin'sula 
Pcramclcs jasciata 
Fkalangista vulpina 
Phalttngista Vivcrrma 

var Victonac 
Macropus ftthginosus 
Macropus major 

Macropus oevdromus 
Halmaturus hennctti 
Osphranfcr rttfus 
Ifa/muturus Brachyurus 
llalrnot urns uallahatus 
Molosstts attstralts 

Antoccphahts iohatus* 
Stcnorhyitchus leptonyx 
Physahts Grsyi 

McCoy's vernacular 

Present scientific 

Present vernacular 

Native Cat 





Ring-tail Opossum 

Kangaroo Rat 
Sooty Kangaroo 
Old Man, Boomer 

Red kangaroo 


Native Dog or Dingo 
Eared Seal 
Sea Leopard 

DatQ -urns i •/ 1 ■errintts 
teoodon ohcsulus 
Prrameles gunnii 
Vomhatits ttrsinus 
Tr'tchosurtts vu/pecula 
Potorotis tridoclylus 
Logorahe&ies leportdes 
Macropus jtdigiftosus 
Macropus gigantctis 

Macropus fuliginosus 
Macropits rujogrisens 
Macropus ntf'us 
Thylogale hil/ardierii 
Wallahia hicoior 
Tadat tela australiM 
Cants lupus Jingo 
A rcioccphoius pasillus 
Hydrurga lcpfony\ 
ttalacnoptcra niusculus 

[■astern Quoll 

Southern Brown Bandicoot 
Eastern Barred Bandicooi 
Common Wombat 
Common Brushtail Possum 
Common Ringtail Possum 

Long-nosed Potoroo 
Eastern Hare-wallaby 
Western Grey Kangaroo 
Eastern Grey Kangaroo 

Western Grey Kangaroo 
Red-necked Wallaby 
Red Kangaroo 
Tasmanian Pademclon 
Black Wallaby 
White-striped Freetail Bat 

Australian fur-seal 
Leopard Seal 
Blue Whale 

* In the later Prodrontits of/oology (1878-1885), McCoy referred to this species as Euotaria 
cincrea, a combination apparently derived from .I.E.Gray's 1866a, 1866b and 1871 reviews of fur 
seal and sea lion taxonomy. However, as Gray ( 1866b, 1871) erected Euotaria as a sub-genus of 
Arctnccphaius including [South] American species, and Gypsophoca for Australian species, McCoy 
seems to have erred. 

did list some of the species found in 
Victoria. It is a pity that be did not choose 
to provide a list of all the mammals 
known, as he did for the birds. Table I lists 
the species reported. Of interest are com- 
ments about the biogeography of the large 
kangaroos. McCoy believed thai there 
were four species present and commented 
on the differences in appearance and distri- 
bution. Two species that he reported are 
now recognised to be conspeeific - 
Macropus fid igmo.sifs and M ocydromus 
but the taxonomy of the grey kangaroos 
was not soiled out until the 1^70s (Kirseh 
and Poole 1972). McCoy was not just a 
narrowly focussed academic, lie was very 
much alert to the ecological consequences 
of fencing pastoral land, which had result- 
ed in a large increase in numbers of kanga- 
roos, often necessitating the killing of 
'hundreds ... on the squatters runs merely 
to save the grass for the sheep' (McCoy 
lS67b: 309). The increase in kangaroo 
numbers was also attributed to the exten- 
sive poisoning of Dingoes. Somewhat sur- 

prisingly, McCoy made errors of identifi- 
cation of the wallabies found in Victoria 
and Bass Strait, believing that the Black 
Wallaby (now Wallahia bicofor) was pre- 
sent on Bass Strait islands as well as in 
southern Victoria, and attributing the name 
of the Quokka Setonyx hrachyurus of 
Western Australia to the Tasmanian 
Pademclon Thylogale hillardicni which, in 
his time, was still present in coastal eastern 
Victoria. McCoy's confusion was possibly 
a reflection of the very limited reference 
material available to him in Australia and 
his unavoidable reliance on taxonomic 
reviews published in Europe, where most 
of the significant collections of birds and 
mammals were held. Many years were to 
pass before adequate geographically repre- 
sentative reference material was available 
in Australia for such comparative zoology. 
Furs from possums and 'native cats' 
{Dasyurus viverritws* Eastern Quoll and 
possibly also Spot-tailed Quoll) were also 
seen as desirable products, and McCoy 
urged the promotion of them into the 


The Victorian Naturalist 

Part Two 

Tabic 2. Fossil mammals named 
of description. 

by McCoy, with their present-day taxonomie standing. Dale: Date 

Species, as named 
bi McCoy 

Date Modern status of nomenclature 


Dasyurus affinis 1865 

Thylacol&Q oweni 1876 

Phascolomys pliocenus 1866 

Diprotodon ahnextcms 1861 

Diprotodon longiceps 1865 

Bettvngia cunicuhides 1 80s 

Hypsiprymmts trisulcatus 1865 
irctocephalus wiUiamsi 1 866 
Cetotolites baiteyi \^^ 

( 'etotolites feggei \x ni > 

I 'etotatites price! 1879 

Cetofoiltes netsom 1879 

Cetotolites nelsom 1879 

\ar rugosa 
Parasqualodon wilkinsom' 1866 

Ztphim (Dolichodon) 1882 
Physetodon baileyi 1879 

Dasyurus wtctculatus 
Thylacoleo camifex 

l"ombunt\ ttrsimis 

Uncertain possibly A australis 
Uncertain - was to replace (tnnc\!<m\ 

and therefore possibly £>. ausirulis 
Uncertain - but most probably 

/>'. gaimardi, given the locality 

1 1 oddon River) 

Potorous irniacivlus 
Neophocu 1 iiicrcn 
Somen nudum* 
Women nudum 
Xomen dubium* ' 
Somen dubittm 

PcssibI) conspecific w ith 
Prosqualodan davidls 
Women dubittm 

( icnus and species still stand, hut 
possibl) nomen dubium 

Mahoney 1%4 
Archer and Dawson 19X2 
Wilkinson 1978 
Archer etaL l l >s4 
Archer etai, 1984 

I his paper: Archer cf al. 
1984 considered that the 
'distinction of this (axon is 

Mahoncv 1964 

lordyce and llannerv 1983 

Fordyce [984 

Fordyce i l >N4 

Fordyce I l >n4 

Fordyce [984 

1 ordyce 1984 

I ordyce 1984 
I ordyce 1984 
Fordyce 1984 

* Somen nudum' A name that fai 
Zoological Nomenclature ( 1985) 
made available later, from \\ Inch 
** "Nomen dubium\ A named tin 

Is to conform to certain Articles in the International Code of 
It is not an available name and therefore the same name may be 
time the authorilv would dale. 
known or doubtful application. 

European fur trade. "So abundant and easi- 
ly obtained are these skins ... , (McCoy 
1867b: 309). Would thai it were still so! 
The fur from the Fur Seal was reckoned to 
be '-of good quality when properly dressed' 
(MgCqj L867b: 309). However, these seals 
had been heavily exploited for main 
decades prior to McCoy's comments, aitd 
while there remained a sporadic and low- 
level trade in seal skins, the industry had 
effectively finished many years prior, so 
that despite the quality of the skins, there 
was not much profit to be made from the 
species by Mc( oy's time. 

Descriptions of mammal fossils 

McCoy's palaeontogical expertise was at 
the forefront in most of his mammalian 
investigations. Between 1861 and I 882 he 
described 16 taxa oi fossil mammals 
(Archer eta!, 1984; McCoy 1874-1882; 
Table 2). Nine o\' these descriptions 
appeared in the Prodromtts of Palaeont- 
ology, 1X74-1882. 

He described Diprotodon annextans in 
1861 and D. longiceps in 1865 (Archer et 
al. 1984 considered that this was a replace- 
ment name for D. annexions). He exam- 
ined a collection o\' fossil bones found by 
A.R.C. Selwyn in a cave at Gisborne dur- 
ing the early I K60s, commenting on the 
species present in his [861 essay, In a note 
that was present on some printings of a 
Geological Survey o\' Victoria map (GSV 
Quarter Sheet 7 NW, 1865), McCoy 
(1865) listed the following species o\' 
mammals as being present (we have repro- 
duced the names as given): Cams Dingo; 
new Genus of Carnivorous animal; 
Diahoins (Sarcophihts) Ursmus; Dasyurus 
vivrrrinns: Dasyurus ojfinis; Phalangisla 
v nip ma; Phalan^isla New Species; 
Peramclcs ohcsnla\ Hypsiprymnns fn\nl- 
CQfUS', Macropns nearly allied to M. mila 
hitlns. He thus described two new species 
of marsupial Dasvurns a/finis, a 'new 
species nearly as large as I), niacniains but 
differing in proportions 1 , and llvpsi- 

Vol. 1 18 (6)2001 


"McCoy Issue 

pnvmus /risukulits. a new species a little 
smaller than the living //. minor and hav- 
ing only 3 sulci | grooves] on the large pre- 
molar in the lower jaw. 

Mahoney (1964) reviewed the identities 
of the two new species and concluded that 
Dawuru.s affinis was in fact D. mactilatuw 
measurements and morphology of the syn- 
types falling within the normal range of 
thai species. Gill (1953b) figured the syn- 
types, which appear to be typical D- macu- 
iatus. Hypsiprymnus irisidcailts was, simi- 
larly, relegated to a junior synonym of 
Potorous frit/actv/us by Mahoney. who 
pointed out that variation in the number of 
sulci was apparent within that species and 
thus was not a discriminating character. 
Mahoney considered that the fauna 
described In McCoy's note was representa- 
tive of the modern fauna of the area. Thai 
is true, with the exception of Sarcophtlus. 
Several records of that species in cave 
deposits in Victoria have been reported 
(Mahoney U>12; Gill 1953a. c) and it is 
likely that it was present on the mainland 
until fairly recently (in geological terms). 

Mahoney ( 1964) was unable to identify 
McCoy's "new Species of Carnivorous ani- 
mal\ noting that one possibility was 
Hydnomys chrysogaster Water Rat. McCoy 
himself ( 1861 ) mentioned that Hydromys 
was present in the 'Mount Maeedon cav- 
erns' (= (iisborne) deposits, but made wo 
further reference to the species. Hn/ront\-< 
seems unlikely. Mahoney quotes Selwyn's 
description, which likens the skull to that 
of 'a domestic cat. but not more than half 
the size*: perhaps a kitten* The conundrum 
will remain unless the specimen is found. 

McCoy was enthusiastic about fossil 
marine mammals and described nine species 
- one otariid seal, the remainder cetaceans. 
Fordyce (1984. 1991 1 has assessed these 
species and concluded that most are invalid. 
Further review may reveal that those names 
still standing are indeed synonyms. 

It is a somewhat sad reflection of 
McCoy's diligent and knowledgeable 
descriptive /oology, then, that only one 
species of mammal, modem or fossil, has 
truly stood the test of time and review. It 
is. however, a pleasing legacy that thai 
species should be Leadbeater's Possum, 
Victoria's only endemic mammal and one 
of its State Fauna! Emblems. 


We wish to thank Tom Durragh. Museum 
Victoria, for helpful discussions about Frederick 
McCoy and for the provision of copies of diffi- 
cult- to- obtain references, and Carol Harris, 
Arthur Rylah Institute Librarian, for facilitating 
copies of other essential references. The Stale 
Library of Victoria provided a copy of McCoy's 
illustration of Leadbeater's Possum, which 
forms Fig. I. 


Archer. M. and Dawson, L ( I9N2). Revision ol marsu- 
pial lions of the genus Thylacoieo Gervais 
fThylacoleonidae. Marsujiialia) and thylacoleonid 
evolution in the late C'aino/oic. In 'Carnivorous 
Marsupials', pp. 477-94 . Ed, M. Archer. {Royal 
Zoological Societv of New South Wales: Sydney.) 

Archer, M., Clayton, G. and Hand. S. (1984). A check- 
list of Australian fossil mammals. In 'Vertebrate 
Zoogeography & Evolution in Australasia (Animals 
in space and tune)\ pp. 1027-87. I ds M. Archer and 
(i, Clayton. (Hesperian Press: Carlisle) 

fira/cnor, C.W. (1950). 'The Mammals of Victoria and 
the Dental Characteristics of Monotremes and 
Australian Marsupials'. National Museum of 
Victoria. Handbook No. 1. (Brown, Prior. Anderson: 

Darragh, I. A.. (1992), Frederick McCoy. The fossil 
Collector Bulletin $$. 15-22. 

Dixon, -1M. (U>7(>). Catalogue of mammal types ((lass 
Mammalia) in the National Museum of Victoria. 
Memoirs of the National Museum of Victoria 31. 

i)i\on, .I.M. and FrigO, U, (1994). flic Cetacean 
Collection of the Museum of Victoria. An Annotated 
Catalogue (Australian Deer Research Foundation. 
Croydon, Victoria.) 

fordyce. (R .) L (19N4). Involution and Zoogeography 
Of Cetaceans in Australia. In •Vertebrate 
Zoogeography & Evolution in Australasia (Animals 
in space and lime)\ pp. 929-48. Eds M. Archer and 
G Clayton. (Hesperian Press: Carlisle) 

fordyce, RI.., (1991). The Australasian marine verte- 
brate record and its climatic and geographic implica- 
tions. In 'Vertebrate Palaeontology of Australasia', 
pp. IK.5-90. Eds P- Viekers-Rich. J.M. Monaghan. 
R.I-. Haird and T.H. Rich. {Pioneer Design Studio 
and Monash University. Melbourne.) 

fordyce, R.E. and f 'tannery, LL ( 19X3). Fossil phocul 
seals from the later fertiary of Victoria. Proceeding* 
o) i flic Roxut Society of Victoria 95,99-100. 

Gill, I..D. (1953a). Ceologieal evidence in western 
Victoria relative to the antiquity of the Australian 
aborigines. Memoirs of the National Museum oj 
Victoria 18.25-92. 

dill. E.T>. (1953b). Catalogue of Quaternary l\pes and 
figured specimens in the National Museum, 
Melbourne. Memoirs of the National Museum of 
Victoria 18. 157-68. 

dill. 1:0- (1953c). Distribution of the lasmanian 
Devil, the Tasmanian Wolf, and the Dingo m SI.. 
Australia in Qualemarv time The Vicionan 
Naturalistic 86-90. 

Gould. J. (1845-63). The Mammals of Australia. 
(Published by the author: London.) 

Gray, If- ( IK66a). Observations on the 'Prodrome of a 
Monograph of the Pinnipedes' by I . GUI. Annals and 
Magazine of Natural History Series )> ( 1 7 ), 44-4-46. 

Gray. J.E. ( lS66h). Notes on die skulls of sea-bears and 
sea-lions (Olartdae) in the British Museum. Annals ami 
Magazine oj Natural Historv Series 3 ( I K), 228-37 


The Victorian Naturalist 

Part Two 

Gray. J.E. (1871). -Supplement to the Catalogue of 
Seals and Whales in the British Museum'. (British 
Museum. London.) 

Iredale, T. and Troughton. E. Le G. ( 1934). 'A 
Checklist of the Mammals Recorded from Australia'. 
Memoir Vt, The Australian Museum. Sydney. 

International Trust for Zoological Nomenclature 
(1985J. 'International Code of Zoological 
Nomenclature'. (Internationa! Trust lor Zoological 
Nomenclature: London.) 

Kirseh. J. A W and Poole. W.E. (1972), la\onom> and 
distribution of the grey kangaroos, Macrapu$ gigan- 
tetts Shaw and Macropus fuliginosai (Dcsmarcsu. 
and their subspecies (Marsupialta: Maeropodidae). 
Australian Journal of 'Zoology- 20. 3 15-39. 

Mahoney. DJ. ( \9\2\ On the bones of the Tasmanian 
Devil and oilier animals, associated with human 
remains near Warmanihool: with a note on the dune 
sand. The Herat tan Xoturnlist 29, 43-46. 

Mahoney, J A. (1^64). The laxonomic status oi 
Dasynms affmis McCov [IS65] (Dflsyuridae) and 
Hypsiprywnvs trisulcaiun McCoy | 1865] 
(Maeropodidae). two marsupials from a Holoeene 
cave deposit near (iisboruc, Victoria. Proceedings "} 
the Royal Society of Victoria 11, >25-\}< . 

McCoy, F. (1861] On the Aneicni and Recent Natural 
History of Victoria. 'Catalogue ol the Victorian 
Exhibition 1861; with Prefatory Essays Indicating the 
Progress. Resources, and Physical Characteristics of 
the Colony', pp. 154-74. (Government Printer: 

McCoy, E (1865). Note, Quarter sheet 7 NW, (Mount 
Aitken). Geological Survey of Victoria. 

McCoy, F. (1866), On a new species yf Halmaturus 
from East Australia. Annals ami Magazine of Xatnral 
History Series 3(18 ). 522-23. 

McCoy. F. (1867a). On a new genus of Phalanger. 
Annals and Magazine of Natural History Series 3 
(20), 2X7-88. 

McCoy. F, (1867b). On the Recent Zoology and 
Palaeontology ol" Victoria. In 'Intercolonial 
Exhibition Essays, 1866-67. No. 7". pp. 309-30. 
(Government Printer: Melbourne.) 

Mc( oy. F. (1874-1882). Geological Survey of 
Victoria. Proilromus of the Palaeontology of 
Victoria; Of Figures and Descriptions of Victorian 
Organic Remains (Government Printer: Melbourne.) 

McCoy. F. (1878-1885). Natural History ol Victoria. 
Prodromus of the /oology of Victoria: or. higiir* \ 
and Descriptions of the i Mng \)>ccics of All ( 'lasses 
of the Vii tartan Indigenous Animals. 2 vols (Decades 
1-2'*). (Government Printer: Melbourne.) 

Peseott. R.T.M. (1954), 'Collections of a Century: the 
history of the first hundred years of the National 
Museum of Victoria". (National Museum ofVictOria 

Strahan, R, led.) < IW). -The Mammals ol Australia'. 
(Peed Books Australian Museum: Sydney.) 

Wakefield. N.A. (1967). Whales and Dolphins 
Recorded \or Victoria. The Victorian Saturalist X4, 
273-8i . 

Wilkinson. II.E. H l >7M. S\nonym> ol the hssil wom- 
bat Vomhatus pliocemti (McCoy) with the living 
wombat Vomhatus hirsutm (Parry). Memoirs oj die 
National Museum of A tctorui Mi. 93-100, 

Comments on the Ostracod Genus Bairdia IVTCdy, 1844 

Mark Thomas Warne 1 

Concerning the initial description of the 
crustacean, ostracod genus Bairdia M'Coy. 
1844 from the Carboniferous of Ireland. 
Malz (1988) commented that 4 McCoy was 
not aware of the importance of his discov- 
ery then, for as often happens great discov- 
eries are evaluated much later.' Mai/ 
(1988) also mused that it was not until a 
lifespan later that the full importance of 
M'Coy's description of Bairdia became 
apparent (with the erection of the family 
BairdiidaeSars 1888). 

Interestingly, the original lateral view 
diagram in M'Coy. 1844 of Bairdia citrtus 
(type species for genus) illustrates this 
species in an upside down fashion with 
respect to its probable original orientation 
in life (Fig. I A). 

fossil specimens attributed to Bairdia 
range back in geological lime to the 

School of Ecology and Environment. Deakin 

University, Rusden Campus, < layton, Victoria J1$S 

Ordovician. with species of this genus 
becoming common in open shallow marine 
palaeoenvironmenls from the mid 
Palaeozoic (Fig. IB). For many years the 
Bairdia generic concept was applied to 
younger post-Palaeozoic fossil and living 
ostracods with similar morphology - and 
some laxonomists still utilise this generic 
name for modern species. However, 
Cainozoic specimens of Bairdia s.I. have 
been split into a number of different genera 
by Maddocks (1966). In particular, the 
genera Neonesidea Maddocks. 1966 and 
Paranesldea Maddocks. 1966 (Fig. IC) 
most closely resemble Bairdia so much 
so that it may be argued that using the 
carapace as morphological grounds for dis- 
tinguishing the former two from the latter 
arc still questionable. This is largely a con- 
sequence of one of the most salient fea- 
tures o\' Bairdia sJ. ostracods - their sub- 
trapezoid shaped carapace which has 

Vol. 118(6)2001 


McCoy Issue 

remained a very dominant and conserva- 
tive morphological feature throughout the 
evolutionary history of the Bairdiidae. 

Bairdia s.l. group ostracods have been 
abundant and ubiquitous faunal elements of 
shallow marine realms throughout most of 
the Phanerozic with a few species becom- 
ing adapted to deep ocean environments 
from about the mid Cretaceous. They 
account for a significant component of 
modern day ostracod biodiversity. Indeed, 
so common are Bairdia s.l. ostracods in 
fossil and modern marine faunas that they 
can be considered as one of the most wide- 
spread and long ranging of all advanced life 
forms to have inhabited the earth. 


Maddocks, R.F. (1966). Revision of Recent Bairdiidae 
(Oslracoda). United Slates National Museum Bulletin 
295, 1-126. 

Mai/. H. (1988). The Bairdia Dynasty: Review, 
Activities. Aspects. In 'Evolutionary Biology of 
Ostracoda: Us Fundamentals and Applications; 
Proceedings of the Ninth International Symposium 
on Oslracoda, Shizuoka', pp. 75-82. Eds T. Hanai, N. 
Ikeya and K. Ishizaki. (Elsevier: Amsterdam.) 

M'Coy, F. (1844). 'A synopsis of the characters of the 
Carboniferous limestone fossils of Ireland*. (Dublin 
University Press: Dublin.) 

Sars, G.O. (1888). Nye Bidrag til Kundskaben om 
Middlehavets Invertebratfauna. 4. Ostracoda 
Mediterranea: Arehiv for Maihematik og 
Naiurvidenskah Oslo 12, 173-324. 

Fig. 1. A. Enlargement (*2.5) of illustrations of Bairdia curlus IVTCoy, 1844 (Plate 23, fig. 6) and 
Bairdia gracilis M'Coy, 1844 (Plate 23, fig. 7). IVTCoy recorded the length of B. cwtits as being 
equal to^one line'. M'Coy recorded the length of B. gracilis as being equal to 'half a line'. B. 
Bairdia sp. Carapace from Lower Devonian Buchan Caves Limestone outcropping near Lilly Pilly 
Cave, Buchan, eastern Victoria. Length of specimen is 0.60 mm. C. Paranesidea sp. Right valve 
from latest Upper Miocene Black Rock Sandstone intersected in Nepean 1 borehole at 178.3 metres 
depth (Nepean Peninsula, southern Victoria). Length of specimen is 0.65 mm. 


The Victorian Naturalist 

Part Two 

A 'Bite" From the Past 

Leigh Ahern 1 

During spring of 1999 I was fortunate to 
ha\e the opportunity of assisting Mr A. J. 
(John) Coventry, the Officer-in-Charge of 
Herpetology at the Museum of Victoria, in 
carrying out re-labelling and other curator- 
ial work on parts of the State herpetologi- 
cal collection, then housed at Abbotsford, 
near Melbourne. The task frequently 
involved checking to ensure that specimen 
naming was in accord (as far as practica- 
ble) with current taxonomy and that former 
references to the specimen (often as differ- 
ent taxa) in literature or historic museum 
registers were recorded on the museum's 
modern computerised database. 

The work provided me with the opportu- 
nity to glimpse many preserved herpetolog- 
ical specimens dating back over the last 
150 years or so. I was especially impressed 
by the number of line snake specimens, 
many large and difficult to handle when 
alive, and often highly venomous, yet col- 
lected from some extremely remote parts of 
Australia. It was indeed a thrill to examine 
specimens still displaying the hand-written 
Held labels of eminent naturalists of the 
past, including Gerard Krefft. Donald 
Thomson, Peter Rawlinson. and many oth- 
ers, and to view their additional contribu- 
tions in the form of register entries and 
unpublished museum reports and notes 

An added benefit of working with John 
was the opportunity to marvel at the depth 
of know ledge gained during a career very 
purposefully dedicated to expanding and 
improving this Stale's herpetological col- 
lection. Under John's guidance. 1 often 
spent the lunch-hour perusing many of the 
Museum's literary gems on herpetology 
and wider natural history subjects. It was 
he who directed me to one of its most 
interesting holdings, the Prodromm of the 
Zoology of Victoria by Professor Frederick 
McCoy, published in successive parts 
between 1878 and 1890. 

On one occasion I came upon an unchar- 
acteristically damaged spirit-specimen -a 
snake labelled as Diemenia superciliosa 

IM> Bfl i 1 ' 1 ' i lira Glen, ^ i ■ 

(now known as the Western Brown Snake 
Pseudonaja nuchalis) — which had been 
donated by a k Mr Strickland". The unfortu- 
nate reptile appeared to have been all but 
chopped through in some four or five sepa- 
rate places along the body. The jar label 
referred to this specimen as having been 
'figured' in Professor McCoy's Proil